The Piña Colada has a bit of a bad rap among cocktail connoisseurs. For years, this now-classic drink was the poster child of the blender boom, a symbol of poolside bars and booze cruises. But the tropical cocktail—a mix of rum, coconut, pineapple and lime juices—dates to the 1950s and has been satisfying vacationers and Tiki aficionados since.
As the story goes, the Piña Colada debuted in 1952, when it was first mixed by Ramon Marrero Perez, the head barman at the Caribe Hilton in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Perez had blended up a winner, and the tropical drink enjoyed its place in the sun for decades, finding its way to American shores and faraway isles. However, the quality took a nose dive around the 1970s when barkeeps began making Piña Coladas with cheap, bottled mixers and serving them in comically large glasses.
Fortunately, the drink has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, as craft-focused bartenders reclaimed the original recipe, once again focusing on solid ingredients and proper proportions. Some also opted to sub shaker tins for the traditional blender, creating a lighter, less-icy cocktail.
This recipe follows that tack, silencing the blender blades and employing a nice, sturdy shake. This technique keeps the cocktail from becoming overly diluted, and serving it over pebble ice ensures a cold drink.
The new-wave Piña Colada will make you forget about the bad examples served on Bourbon Street and at all-inclusive resorts. This Colada is sweet, but balanced, with crisp rum and tart fruit complementing the rich coconut. Whether you’re on vacation or just making drinks at home, don’t neglect the Piña Colada. Put one of these in everyone’s hand, and good times are imminent.
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1 1/2 ounces cream of coconut
- 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Garnish: pineapple wedge
- Garnish: pineapple leaf
Add the rum, cream of coconut and pineapple and lime juices to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.
Strain into a chilled Hurricane glass over pebble ice.
Garnish with a pineapple wedge and pineapple leaf.