The Piña Colada may not be an everyday drink (or something to drink too much of; there’s a lot of sugar in it, after all). But for those occasions when you’re feeling festive—especially if that festivity should be accompanied by warm weather—the classic PC is tough to beat.

It’s frosty. It’s coconut-y. Hell, there’s a reason you ordered virgin versions of this cocktail as a kid. And while it may take a bit more effort to make than your basic cocktail, it’s actually not all that difficult. You just need a blender. And rum. (Puerto Rican, Dominican, or Cuban are best, though truth be told, we prefer ours with a more romantic-tasting añejo.) And maybe some tropical island rhythms to guide you along the way.

A Little Background

The Piña Colada is Puerto Rican through and through, of this we are sure. But who in Puerto Rico first made it is up for debate. The most fun origin story comes out of the Caribe Hilton hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, circa 1954, when a bartender supposedly spent a rigorous three months trying to invent a signature cocktail and landed on the Piña Colada. Joan Crawford allegedly tried it, loved it, called it “better than slapping Bette Davis in the face.” Hey, it could’ve happened.

Another origin story pinpoints a different bartender at the Beachcomber Bar who was trying to figure out how the hell to make a decent drink in the middle of a coconut shortage. According to a third origin story, a bartender working at another Puerto Rican bar entirely, Barrachina in Old San Juan, invented it in 1963. It could have even been a Puerto Rican pirate named Roberto Cofresí—a.k.a. El Pirata Cofresí—who first made a cocktail with rum, coconut, and pineapple to shore up morale among his crew in the early 1800s. In the end, if you like Piña Coladas (geddit), the only thing you really need to know is that it’s the official drink of Puerto Rico.

If You Like This, Try These

No cocktail does coconut better than a Piña Colada. However, an Eggnog-adjacent Coquito cocktail (also from Puerto Rico) comes close, as does a Painkiller. For simplicity’s sake, golden rum and coconut water mix nicely in a glass. And in the spirit of slushy summer drinks, take a Daiquiri or Margarita with ice and pulse it through the blender.

What You Need

Here’s what you need to do a Piña Colada justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard.

Añejo Rum drizly.com $1.69 Buy Pineapple Juice amazon.com $18.95 Buy Coconut Cream amazon.com $8.50 Buy Maraschino Cherries amazon.com $15.99 Buy

Food styling by Sean Dooley
Prop Styling by Ashley Naum

Album: Partners In Crime (1979)
Charted: 23 1
Get the Sheet Music License This Song 
  • I was tired of my lady, we’d been together too long
    Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song
    So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed
    And in the personals column, there was this letter I read
    “If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
    If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain
    If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
    I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me, and escape”
    I didn’t think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean
    But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine
    So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad
    And though I’m nobody’s poet, I thought it wasn’t half bad
    “Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
    I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne
    I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape
    At a bar called O’Malley’s, where we’ll plan our escape”
    So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place
    I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face
    It was my own lovely lady, and she said, “Oh, it’s you”
    And we laughed for a moment, and I said, “I never knew”
    “That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
    And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne
    If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
    You’re the love that I’ve looked for, come with me, and escape”
    “If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
    If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain
    If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
    I’m the love that you’ve looked for, come with me, and escape”Writer/s: Rupert Holmes
    Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 31

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I have spent a lot of time thinking about Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

I’m not proud of it, of course, but like a piece of popcorn caught in your teeth, I have never been able to extricate Rupert Holmes’ song “Escape” from my brain.

Most people know it as “The Piña Colada Song” where a man answers a letter in the personals section of the newspaper — which was a thing all newspapers used to have before there were 500 digital ways to meet other people who would ultimately disappoint you.

He’s looking to cheat on his wife, which is a strange thing to write a song about, but it was the 1970s and as I’ve said before, the 1970s were really, really weird.

The letter is seeking a man who likes Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain, who isn’t into yoga and has half a brain.

He figures, “Hey, that’s me! And I am also looking for a woman who likes these things!”

So he writes a letter back, urging the woman to ditch her bore of a husband and meet him in a local bar where the two can plan an escape from their lackluster love lives.

Except when he goes to the bar to meet the woman it turns out that it’s his wife all along and they both reconnect over their love of alcoholic beverages and hatred for yoga and health food.

The listener is left to assume that the couple then lives happily ever after, realizing that what they really needed, they had the entire time.

Which has always bothered me.

I was 4 when the song hit the airwaves in 1979, where it worked its way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I can’t say that I understand what the world was actually like during that period because unless it had to do with eating unhealthy amounts of sugar-based cereals or watching cartoons, I had no real investment in it.

But this song bothers me on so many levels.

First, if you’re looking to launch an illicit affair where you run away together, wouldn’t you want to know what the person looks like? Remember, at this point they have just exchanged witty letters about how people who like health food are just the worst. Neither of them know what they’re in for. In 2017 you need to have at least a dozen photos on an app before someone looks at you twice. Were people just way more easygoing about this stuff in the 1970s?

Second, they agree in the newspaper where they are going to meet to plan their rendezvous — an astoundingly bad bit of planning. How many people might show up? You don’t know. You’ve just issued a house party invitation to the entire readership of the newspaper, who, even if they aren’t looking to hook up with you, might show up at the bar just to find out who is trying to hook up. It’s literally the least confidential way you could ever do this. I mean, what if the significant other shows up?

Third, the significant other shows up. But the guy’s in luck because the person who is looking to have an affair is “his only lovely lady” who, before he was looking to cheat on her, was looking to cheat on him. Which, one could argue, is a super progressive stance for a woman in the 1970s. The woman taking command of her own relationship happiness and acting in her own best interest by putting an ad in the personals to try and find someone new. Except she drew the same guy she was trying to escape from.

Fourth, after showing up, the guy says he never knew she liked Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain. How long have these people been together? Long enough to get bored with one another, so we’re going to say a few years at least, and at no point did they share a mutual list of likes and dislikes? Why? What was the foundation of their relationship? Why did you enter into it if neither of you knew nothing about the other party?

Fifth, they get back together. Right. They were both trying to cheat on each other, with each other, but there’s no way the relationship survives that kind of breach long-term, right? It’s not just a cute anecdote to tell the grandchildren, it speaks to a fundamental lack of communication and the ease with which trust can be shattered when we’re unwilling to talk about the things that are important.

Which, in this case, was what alcoholic beverages you like, what are your favorite meteorological phenomenon, and how you feel about making love in sand at midnight.

Every time I go through the song my mind automatically starts dissecting its lyrics and their meaning.

For me there can be no escape from “Escape.”

Next up, what kind of family does a guy have that he can spend Christmas Eve in a grocery store parking lot getting drunk with a married ex-lover without raising significant questions about his life choices?

A song Dan Fogelberg released the next year raises that question.

Chris Lykins is a writer for ExpressNews.com who is best known for handling the weather duties for the Express-News Facebook page.

The Piña Colada is a situational cocktail. When you picture yourself ordering one, you probably envision doing so at a warm-weather resort, at the beach or beside the pool.

The Top Three

Fanny Chu’s Piña Colada

The runaway winner of our recent tasting calls on a blend of coconut milk and cream of coconut.

Erick Castro’s Piña Colada

Erick Castro incorporates four rums into his Piña Colada recipe, in a nod to tiki tradition.

Will Pasternak’s Piña Colada

A smooth, blended texture sets this recipe apart. More Recipes →

“It’s an outdoor drink,” said bartender Joaquín Simó. “You’re using it basically like air conditioning. Having it indoors doesn’t feel quite right.” Fellow bartender Jelani Johnson agreed. “It’s air conditioning in a glass,” he said.

That truth notwithstanding, the PUNCH staff, in order to find the best rendition of the Piña Colada, recently gathered far from any waterfront, in a darkened, second-floor space in the East Village—better known during operating hours as Pouring Ribbons. Joining me on the judging panel were Simó, the owner of Pouring Ribbons; tiki master Johnson, of Clover Club in Brooklyn; and Ivy Mix, an owner of Leyenda, a Brooklyn bar known for its creative use of Caribbean, Central American and South American spirits. Pouring Ribbons bartender Devin Kennedy prepared the drinks.

All these bartenders have served their share of Piña Coladas over the years. “The No. 1 off-menu drinks at Leyenda are the Margarita, Daiquiri and Piña Colada,” said Mix.

Despite belonging to a different category of cocktail, the Piña Colada has enjoyed the same robust name recognition as the Margarita and the Daiquiri, among other top-tier classics, since its advent in 1954. It was then that a bartender at the Caribe Hilton hotel in San Juan first hatched the idea to add the newly created Puerto Rican product Coco Lopez, a sweetened “cream of coconut,” to the traditional tropical mixture of pineapple juice, rum and sugar. There’s been no stopping the dessert-like drink since (and the deathless 1979 Rupert Holmes anthem “Escape (the Piña Colada Song)” certainly didn’t hit the brakes).

Because of the cocktail’s easygoing, live-and-let-live reputation, the judges seemed to hold the Piña Colada to a less exacting standard than they might have for other cocktails with as famous a rep. “It’s the corner slice of cocktails,” argued Simó. “Everyone has had it. You’ve had very crappy versions and very elevated versions. But how much better is that elevated version?”

“Some of the best ones are at the shittiest places,” added Johnson. (Johnson, playing the provocateur, went so far as to half-seriously suggest that the best recipe for a Piña Colada was the coconut-heavy version on the back of the Coco Lopez can.)

Still, as always, the PUNCH judges revealed certain make-or-break measures of acceptability. The use of fresh pineapple juice seemed very little to ask of the competitors. (However, the panel didn’t rule out the idea that a good drink could be made from canned juice.) And fine-straining that juice was considered a mistake. “Why would you strain out all that flavor?” asked Simó. Judges were not opposed to the addition of a little lime juice, a common trick used to bump up the acidity of a drink that desperately needs it.

Coco Lopez was an expected, and historically accurate, choice for the coconut element. (It was used in nine of the 10 recipes tested.) Regarding rum, the judges were liberal minded. They liked the idea of layering multiple rums, but weren’t against using only a single brand, either. Breaking out high-end rums for the drink seemed pointless, but neither was the group opposed to the idea. The only rum sin punishable by expulsion was when the spirit in question couldn’t be detected in the mix at all.

Texture was as important, if not more, to the panel. The first two drinks in the competition were served on cobbled ice. These were judged with an even hand. But when the third contender arrived in blended form, the truth came out.

“It’s a blended drink,” the judges declared, almost simultaneously. Simó, for his part, understood why a bar might opt to not keep a blender on hand—they make too much noise, they take up too much room, etc. Still, the panel expected a silky uniformity of mouthfeel that one can only get from ice that’s been through a blender.

“There’s something about cobbled drinks,” complained Mix. “I don’t want to slurp.” PUNCH senior editor Chloe Frechette further pointed out that a cobbled drink will tend to disappear after a few sips. Blending, meanwhile, transforms a Piña Colada into a lengthy drinking experience. And, said Johnson, that’s what you’re after, since “you aren’t going to want a second one.”

Drinks that hit the right balance between rum, pineapple and coconut proved elusive. Frequently, one flavor dominated. Most often, evidence of the rum was scant. (Later, when the recipes for the cocktails were revealed, a confounding stinginess in rum measurements was discovered nearly across the board.) Textures, too, varied wildly among the blended versions. There were drinks that were thin and watery, and drinks so thick you could barely coax them through a straw.

The winning drink came from Fanny Chu, of Brooklyn’s tropical-minded cocktail bar, Donna. The recipe called for 1 ounce El Dorado 5 Year rum, 1 ounce Pedro Mandinga Panama silver rum (unable to secure a bottle prior to the tasting, PUNCH used Plantation 3 Stars), 1 ½ ounces pineapple juice, 1 ounce “Coco mix” (a blend of three parts Coco Lopez and one part coconut milk), ½ ounce lime juice, and ½ ounce demerara syrup. The judges found the balance of flavors to be nearly perfect. Their only quibble was that the drink was served on cobbled ice. (The judges enjoyed the recipe so much, after the competition was over, they ordered a blended version. It was good, too.)

Second place went to Erick Castro, of Polite Provisions in San Diego. Unlike many other contestants, Castro did not skimp on the rum flavor. The recipe called for a half ounce each of Plantation 3 Stars, Smith & Cross Jamaican rum, Plantation Original Dark and Clément Première Canne Rhum Agricole. To this was added 1 ½ ounces pineapple juice, 1 ½ ounces Coco Lopez and ½ ounce of lime juice. Again, it was served on cobbled ice, which irked the testers. But the formula was the most rum-forward of the drinks, and that strength of flavor went a long way with the panel.

Third place went to Will Pasternak from the Cuba-themed bar BlackTail in New York. There, the drink is served directly from a slushy machine, but his scaled-down rendition consists of 1 ¼ ounces Bacardi Havana Club Añejo Blanco, 1 ½ ounces Coco Lopez, 1 ¾ ounces pineapple juice and ¼ ounce lime juice, blended. Aside from wishing the rum quotient had been increased a bit, the judges felt the drink correctly answered the questionnaire all Piña Coladas must complete.

“Is this cold?” said Johnson. “Is this refreshing? Is this decadent?” And, it might be added, are you outdoors?

The perfect Pina Colada! This classic cocktail will be your favorite summer drink, perfect for sipping poolside or at the beach!

In my opinion, the classic Pina Colada cocktail was pretty much made for summer! The delicious pineapple flavors, the fragrant coconut all blended together in an icy cocktail that’s fantastic for cooling off on a hot day. Made with just 4 simple ingredients, this delicious tropical drink comes together in no time at all. It goes great with me favorite coconut desserts too!

PINA COLADA
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Originating in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the classic Pina Colada recipe came about in the 1950’s from the infamous barman Caribe Hilton. Originally served in a hollowed coconut, this cold, coconut libation was a favorite with locals and American tourists alike. However, in 1954 a coconut-cutters strike forced the Hilton to revise the popular cocktail to be served in a hollowed out pineapple instead. Once he realized that the pineapple juices and flavor were making his infamous cocktail even more popular, the permanent addition of pineapple was kept.

Since then, the classic Pina Colada remains a constant tropical cocktail favorite. With modern conveniences, we can now create the classic drink with a blender and a few simple ingredients. If you’re feeling ambitious, feel free to hollow out pineapples to serve your drink. However, a classic hurricane or margarita ups glass is more standard (and practical.)

This tropical drink is fabulous for a tropical themed party or luau. It’s also fantastic for blending and sipping poolside with your closest friends. It’s definitely the ultimate summer cocktail!

Pina Colada Ingredients

  • Light rum – Any good quality silver rum would work (like Bacardi). I actually used Malibu coconut rum in my Pina Colada and it added a wonderful coconut flavor & aroma that has the essence of a tropical island.
  • Coconut cream – You can find this at your local supermarket in the International foods section. Be sure not to buy coconut milk or water – these are not the same.
  • Pineapple juice – Feel free to use canned or fresh pressed juice.
  • Ice

I used to make Pina Coladas with a Pina Colada mix but then I learned how easy it is to make them fresh and they taste so much better! With these easy Pina Colada recipe, you’ll be an expert in no time at all!

How to Make Pina Colada

  1. Add Ingredients to blender. Make sure the liquids fill the blender to the same level as the ice.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour into a poco grande glass.
  4. Garnish with pineapple, lime, and/or a cherry.

Want more pineapple and coconut recipes?

  • Pineapple Coconut Margarita
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  • Coconut Cream Truffles
  • Pineapple Cheese Ball
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  • More drink recipes…

Tools used to make this Pina Colada recipe

Jigger: Every home bartender should have a jigger for measuring their cocktail ingredients. This one has a no-slip grip and is marked with increment measuring lines so you can make the perfect cocktail every time.

Blender: I love this blender! I use it to make everything from smoothies to soups. It can handle anything I throw at it and the puree comes out smooth.

Poco Grande glass: This smaller version of the hurricane glass is great for tropical cocktails and frozen virgin drinks!

Pina Colada

The perfect Pina Colada! This classic cocktail will be your favorite summer drink, perfect for sipping poolside or at the beach!
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Course: Drink Cuisine: Caribbean Servings: 1 cocktail Calories: 378kcal Author: Erin Indahl-Fink

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces coconut cream
  • 2 ounces coconut rum or silver rum
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 cup ice

Garnish

  • Pineapple wedge
  • Maraschino cherry

Instructions

  • In a blender, add all the ingredients. Blend until ice is crushed completely and cocktail takes on a smooth consistency.
  • Pour into a glass, and garnish with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 331mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1.6mg Tried this recipe?Mention @aubrey_realhousemoms or tag #RHFood!

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Make The Perfect Pina Colada With This Recipe

Do you like pina coladas? What about getting caught in the rain?

But seriously, the pina colada is one of the most universally popular cocktails, enjoyed at bars across the whole world. And when you try it, you’ll see why.

An indulgent muddle of exotic taste sensations, the pina colada fuses the smooth, silky texture of coconut milk and coconut cream with the tangy punch of fresh pineapple. Added to that is a healthy kick of everyone’s favorite tropical tipple: rum. What’s not to love?

If you’d like to learn how to make a pina colada, we’ve got a great recipe to share with you, just as we did for strawberry daiquiris, coffee and rum drinks and rum runner cocktails

It’s so simple you can knock one up right now in your own kitchen. Of course, the pina colada does taste best when enjoyed on the beach, though. Jamaican sunsets and crystal clear waters are optional, but they sure do help.

How To Make a Pina Colada

One of the reasons that the Pina Colada has become so popular with people throughout the world is the fact that it’s relatively simple to make. That’s why you’ll likely find the cocktail on the menus of almost any drinking den, from high-end bars at all-inclusive resorts to the most rustic of beach rum shacks. And of course, you can easily make it at home too.

As with any popular cocktail, there are plenty of different variations on the classic pina colada recipe. But, we like to stick with tradition, which is why we always opt for the original frozen pina colada recipe, created by Monchito in Puerto Rico back in the ’50s.

It’s published in a book by José L. Díaz de Villegas, and friends of Monchito have confirmed that it’s the real recipe that he swore by.

Follow the simple steps below to learn how to make a fantastic pina colada at home, using fresh ingredients for maximum flavor. We guarantee your friends and family will be more than impressed when you present them with this tasty treat one evening.

Pina Colada Recipe

Ingredients:
3 ounces (85g) coconut cream
6 ounces (170g) fresh pineapple juice
1 ½ ounces (43g) white rum
Crushed ice
Pineapple wedge and Maraschino cherry (to garnish)

Method:

  1. Add the coconut cream, pineapple juice, rum and crushed ice to a blender. If you don’t have a blender you can use a cocktail shaker instead.

  2. Blend or shake very well until the mixture is completely silky smooth.

  3. Pour the mixture into a chilled glass.

  4. Add a garnish of a fresh pineapple wedge or maraschino cherry

As you’ll see, making a classic pina colada at home couldn’t be easier.

Give it a try and bring the magic of your next vacation to life as you enjoy this tasty cocktail.

For those who enjoy a nice read, we’ll move past the simple recipe and give you some background on this delicious drink.

Who Invented the Pina Colada?

The Pina Colada cocktail is hugely popular throughout the Caribbean, but it didn’t actually originate there. In fact, this drink was first created in Puerto Rico, as part of a competition to create the country’s new national drink.

The pina colada is attributed to bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero Pérez, who claims that he was the first to make the delicious drink back in 1954, when working at the Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan.

The Caribe Hilton Hotel boasts a beautiful 17-acre site on the outskirts of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. This impressive city sits on the edge of the island’s Atlantic coast, and has long been a popular tourist destination.

The Caribe Hilton Hotel was the first luxurious hotel in the area when it first opened back in 1949, and it was regularly frequented by the rich and famous, who flocked to this exciting, exotic place. It was these well-to-do travelers who first started to spread the word about the new drink they’d tried in Puerto Rico, and the pina colada was born.

There is another claim to the creation of the pina colada, however.

Another bartender, Ramón Portas Mingot, also says he was the first to create the pina colada.

He states that he made it first, while working at the Barrachina Restaurant, on Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan. And the restaurant stands by him – proudly proclaiming that it is the true birthplace of the pina colada.

We’ll probably never know who really was the first person to make the pina colada, but we do know that it wasn’t until the 1960s that the pina colada got its name. The name literally translates to “strained pineapple”, in honor of the fresh-pressed and strained pineapple juice that gives the cocktail its fresh, fruity flavor.

Whether it was made in a restaurant on Fortaleza Street or at the city’s most lavish new five star hotel, one’s thing for sure. The pina colada definitely originates from Puerto Rico, and the locals are very proud of that fact.

They even have a national day celebrating the drink. National Piña Colada Day takes place on the islands on 10 July. We’ll drink to that

Make A Frozen Pina Colada at Home

It doesn’t have to be National Pina Colada Day to enjoy a pina colada at home.

Why not give our classic recipe a try? It’s simple to make, uses delicious fresh ingredients and tastes amazing. The pina colada is the perfect drink to enjoy at home, or you could make a batch for friends at your next party.

And if you’re getting ready to jet off on a last-minute vacation, just think how much better that pina colada is going to taste when you’re sipping it in the sunshine.

Best piña colada recipe

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