The Puerto Rican Piña Colada

Piña Colada
Photo by Todd Huffman

Courtesy Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico

The piña colada was created at San Juan’s Caribe Hilton. There’s some debate about who created it, but the honor generally goes to Ramón “Monchito” Marrero Perez, one of the Caribe Hilton’s early local bartenders. As the story goes, Perez experimented for three months in 1954 before he created a drink that he said captured the sunny, tropical flavors of Puerto Rico in a glass.

Another bartender at the hotel, Ricardo Garcia, is credited for adding strained pineapple juice and naming the drink. (Literally translated from Spanish, piña colada means “strained pineapple.”) Garcia was also the first person to serve the drink in a hollowed-out coconut.

Four Classic Cocktails of the Caribbean
  • 2 ounces white rum, preferably Puerto Rican
  • 1 ounce coconut cream
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 6 ounces fresh pineapple juice
  • Fresh pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry, for garnish
Directions

In a blender, combine all ingredients, except garnishes, with ½ cup crushed ice. Blend for about 15 seconds, or until smooth. Serve in a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with pineapple and cherry.

If You Like Piña Coladas...

The piña colada drink was created in 1954, but we can’t forget the 1979 Rupert Holmes song “Escape (The Piña Colada Song),” which again popularized the drink. Although Holmes admitted he had never tried a piña colada before he wrote the song—the original line was “If you like Humphrey Bogart”—the lyric stuck. It was so popular that the record company added the parenthetical subtitle later because people were calling radio stations requesting “The Piña Colada song.”

Published on March 22, 2017
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She’s the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip., NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening and Cocktails With a Twist, released August 2019. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net



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