If you’re looking for a refreshing, sultry cocktail to highlight your next summer party, this piña colada is it.
You may associate a piña colada with laid-back poolside vacations, but the piña colada ingredients of rum, coconut, and pineapple is actually a pillar of the tiki drink canon.
Video: How to Make Piña Coladas
Ingredients for Making Piña Coladas
Part of the charm of piña coladas is how easy they are to make:
- RUM: Rum is the base alcohol. Choose a white rum for this cocktail, rather than the more strongly flavored aged rums. Mount Gay is a smooth and affordable option.
- COCONUT: For the coconut component, use cream of coconut. Avoid coconut milk or coconut cream; "cream of coconut" is a different product. You'll often find it near in the liquor section with the other mixers. My preferred brand is Coco Lopez.
- PINEAPPLE: Pineapple enters the mix by way of pineapple juice and pineapple chunks. The chunks help make this blended drink thicker and frothier. If you cut your your pineapple yourself, freeze the chunks in a single layer on a baking sheet before using.
- THE FLOAT (optional): Last but not least, I like to add a splash of golden or añejo rum to the top of each glass just before serving. This rum floats on top of the drink and adds a more complex flavor to the drink.
The History of the Piña Colada
Quite a few bartenders and bars have claimed to have created the now famous piña colada over the years, but the drink's true origins are a bit murky. There's even evidence that traders in the 19th century mixed rum with coconut water and mashed pineapple for what would have been a sort of proto-piña!
In the end, though, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Because a piña colada is amazing.
Piña Coladas: Blended or Shaken?
By the way, there’s a misconception out there that a blended piña colada is actually a more recent, modernized version of the cocktail. In fact, the blended cocktail is the original, and the shaken piña colada the contemporary incarnation.
If you'd like to make a shaken piña colada for yourself, try shaking 1 1/2 ounces golden or añejo rum with 1-ounce coconut cream and 1-ounce pineapple juice, and pouring it over ice. A spritz of lime peel over the cocktail is a perfect finishing touch.
Blended or shaken, a piña colada truly can't be beaten for its tropical flavor and efficiency in getting rum in your mouth.
More Summer Cocktails!
- Watermelon Pitcher Margaritas
- Long Island Iced Tea
- Mint and Lime Mojito
- Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
- Dark and Stormy
The traditional blended pina colada recipe doesn’t use frozen pineapple, but I find it adds a bit more flavor and reduces the amount of ice needed.
As with most tiki-style drinks, this one uses multiple styles of rum to achieve balance and flavor.
6 ounces white rum
6 ounces cream of coconut (preferably Coco Lopez brand)
6 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks (see How to Cut a Pineapple)
4 cups ice
4 ounces golden or añejo rum
Pineapple leaves or wedges for garnish, optional
Place the white rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice and chunks, and ice in a blender. Process until totally blended.
Pour into glasses and top with and top with the golden rum (it should float on top).
Serve with pineapple leaves or slices as garnish if desired.