The Puerto Rican Piña Colada
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.
- 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
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.
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.”