If you are of a certain era, “(Escape)The Piña Colada Song” by Rupert Holmes just now wormed into your ear. If you don’t know it… I am sure you can find it on YouTube, if you dare, it may chafe your soul for eternity. Oh! I just realized it is featured in Guardians of the Galaxy - so indeed it lives on!
Yes, I have enjoyed one or three on occasion - but that was a long time ago, on a Caribbean white sandy beach, with a steel drum band playing in the background. However, being a bit nostalgic on this sunny afternoon, I could be persuaded to imbibe one poolside.
The name Piña Colada literally means "strained pineapple", a reference to the freshly pressed and strained pineapple juice used in the drink's preparation.
The earliest known story states that in the 19th century, Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí, to boost his crew's morale, gave them a beverage or cocktail that contained coconut, pineapple, and white rum. This was what would be later known as the famous piña colada. With his death in 1825, the recipe for the piña colada was lost. Historian Haydée Reichard disputes this version of the story.
In 1950 The New York Times reported that "Drinks in the West Indies range from Martinique's famous rum punch to Cuba's piña colada (rum, pineapple and coconut milk)."
The Caribe Hilton Hotel claims Ramón "Monchito" Marrero created the Piña Colada in 1954 while a bartender at the hotel. According to this account, Mr. Marrero finally settled upon the recipe for the Piña Colada, which he felt captured the true nature and essence of Puerto Rico. The hotel was presented with a proclamation in 2004 by Puerto Rico Governor Sila M. Calderón celebrating the drink's 50th anniversary.
Here’s how to whip up one of your own:
Brian’s Best Piña Colada!
Makes 4 Servings
Freezing fresh pineapple definitely makes the best impact flavor-wise in this piña colada recipe, but you can use 8 oz. frozen pineapple if you wish.
½ fresh pineapple, peeled, cut into 1½-inch pieces
6 ounces sweetened cream of coconut (preferably Coco López)
2 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
8 ounces white rum
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 ounces dark rum (optional)
Maraschino cherries and lime wedges (for serving)
Place pineapple pieces in a resealable plastic bag, laying them flat. Freeze until solid, at least 3 hours.
Shake cream of coconut and coconut milk in their cans before measuring. Purée pineapple, cream of coconut, coconut milk, white rum, lime juice, and 3 cups ice (about 15 oz.) in a blender until smooth. Transfer blender cup to freezer and freeze until mixture is thickened (it should be the consistency of a milkshake), 25–35 minutes.
Blend again until mixture is the perfect slushy frozen drink consistency. Divide among glasses. Top off each with ½ oz. dark rum, if using, and garnish each with a cherry and lime wedge.