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In 1954, a bartender named Ramón “Monchito” Marrero created the official Piña Colada recipe at the Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The recipe included rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice, shaken with ice and served in a hollowed-out pineapple.
My Piña Colada mastery has always been revered as the best by family and friends. I’m not one to brag (maybe a little), but the key to success is not cutting corners and using the right ingredients and the right amount of booze. Part of the reason for my dedication to this drink is my own obsession with the cocktail. It’s my favorite island/Tiki-inspired cocktail of all time.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to get a bad Piña Colada made with cheap mixers. When made true to form, there’s nothing quite as rich and delicious.
Tips for the Best Piña Colada
Pay close attention because this is the most important thing you need to know right now. Don’t use premade Piña Colada mix! Anything with artificial coconut flavoring that includes pineapple juice is wrong. Trust me. Canned pineapple juice is of course OK. That is my go-to for the freshest-tasting pineapple.
Coconut Cream versus Cream of Coconut
The Piña Colada can be made with coconut cream or cream of coconut. Coconut cream is a thinner unsweetened ‘cream’ while cream of coconut is coconut cream with added sugar. It’s more processed and resembles a syrup similar to sweetened condensed milk. Both will work in a Piña Colada however the cream of coconut will obviously result in a sweeter drink that most are probably more accustomed to at this point.
If you’re using cream of coconut, I recommend Coco Reàl or Coco Lopez brands. Both can be found in most grocery stores, usually sold with other drink mixes. They’re also usually sold in cans or convenient plastic squeeze bottles.
Coconut cream lends a creamier texture with more body, especially if served shaken. The drink leans more heavily on pineapple juice for natural added sweetness.
Shaken Versus Blended
The original Piña Colada was shaken with crushed or pebble ice. I personally love this method because it offers a different texture and it’s a lot simpler to make quickly. The shaken Piña Colada has very similar vibes to the Painkiller—another fantastic Tiki cocktail made with coconut and pineapple juice.
The frozen Piña Colada can be made in a blender or single-serve Ninja, NutriBullet, etc. Blend until smooth and no longer “gritty.” Add ice if it renders too thin or watery. As a note, cream of coconut is best reserved for blended cocktails due to its thicker consistency. The ice helps to balance the added thickness.
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Piña Colada Recipe
- Prep Time: 5
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Piña Colada recipe made with white rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. The perfect ratio for my favorite island/summertime cocktail of all time.
- 3 ounces coconut cream or cream of coconut (see note)
- 3 ounces pineapple juice
- 2 ounces white rum
- 1–1 1/2 cups ice
- Pineapple wedge or cherry for garnish (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth but a little thick, and no longer “gritty”, about 15-20 seconds. Add more ice if too thin or watery. Pour all contents into a hurricane, wine, or double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge or cherry (or both).
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with preferably crushed or pebble ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Pour all contents into a hurricane, wine, or double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge or cherry (or both).
The Piña Colada can be made with cream of coconut or coconut cream. Coconut cream is a thinner unsweetened cream while cream of coconut is coconut cream with added sugar (it’s more syrupy and looks like sweetened condensed milk). Both will work in a Piña Colada however the cream of coconut will obviously result in a sweeter drink that most are probably more accustomed to.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 484
- Sugar: 53.2g
- Sodium: 33mg
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 13.2g
- Carbohydrates: 57.3g
- Fiber: 0.4g
- Protein: 1.3g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: pina colada recipe, shaken pina colada, frozen pina colada recipe
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