Rum, coconut sorbet, pineapple juice, and lime—it’s hard to think of a more refreshing concoction to beat the summer heat. The Coconut Colada comes from bar icon Jim Meehan, cocktail book author and co-founder of New York City’s Please Don’t Tell and Portland, Oregon’s Takibi. Its roots are in the classic Piña Colada, and while it includes many of the key elements—like rum, pineapple and coconut—it differs in a few game-changing ways.
Meehan made the Coconut Colada when Banks rum was released in 2010, and the use of Banks 5-Island rum as the drink’s base is purposeful and necessary for recreating it. “The Piña Colada typically relies on a subtly flavored Cuban style rum, while Banks brings much more character to this recipe, which centers around coconut instead of pineapple,” Meehan says.
One difference between the Coconut Colada and a standard Piña Colada is the use of freshly squeezed pineapple juice rather than anything pre-packaged, like the ones commonly found in cans. The tartness of natural pineapple juice helps balance the sweetness of the rum and coconut, so the drink requires less lime juice to balance. “Fresh pineapple juice is floral and quite acidic, which the canned juice lacks,” Meehan explains. “Using fresh juice reduces the need for lime juice to balance the sweetness of the juice and coconut cream. I’ve always felt that lime juice was discordant in a piña colada, and you need much less of it if you use fresh pineapple juice.”
The other major difference, perhaps the most dramatic change to the recipe, is the use of coconut sorbet, or sorbetto, rather than the usual canned cream of coconut, which Meehan admits he’s not the biggest fan of. “A coconut sorbet from a producer that uses the real thing—such as Ciao Bella or Häagen-Dazs—is a game changer for this recipe from a taste and texture standpoint.” The lighter sweetness of it also helps cut down on the lime juice.
For the garnish, the Coconut Colada gets dried coconut flakes, which Meehan says “are a little cheesy” but that he “stands by them.”
- 2 ounces Banks 5-Island rum
- 1 ounce pineapple juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 scoop coconut sorbetto such as Ciao Bella or Häagen-Dazs
- Garnish: dried coconut flakes
Add the Banks 5-Island rum, pineapple juice, lime juice and coconut sorbet to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a chilled rocks or coupe glass or a coconut shell.
Garnish with dried coconut flakes.