Start your blenders! July 10th (Yes, this Friday!) is International Piña Colada Day!
According to Discover Puerto Rico, the famous tropical drink—Hollywood legend Joan Crawford is said to have declared it “better than slapping Bette Davis in the face”—was invented in the island’s capital, San Juan. However, the identity of its creator is shrouded in controversy.
Three different bartenders claim the invention as their own. The Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan is the setting for two of the original stories dating back to 1954. Another claim comes from a mixologist at Barrachina in Old San Juan, who claims he concocted the first piña colada in 1963, and today a plaque at the restaurant entrance commemorates it as the cocktail’s birthplace. But other islanders believe the frothy, fruity cocktail was created by Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresi, who allegedly served them to his crew to boost morale.
Regardless of its providence, a piña colada is bound to brighten up any summer Friday. Don’t know how to make one? Here’s a trusty recipe from our friends at Discover Puerto Rico.
- 60ml of coconut cream
- 120ml pineapple juice
- 4 ice cubes
- 60ml white rum
- Cherries, pineapple wedges and whipped cream to garnish
In a blender, mix the coconut cream, pineapple juice, ice and rum until all the ingredients are blended smoothly. Pour the drink into a glass and top with whipped cream before garnishing with the cherries and pineapple wedges.
Playing with the piña colada
Today the iconic piña colada takes many forms in Puerto Rico with local mixologists experimenting with the flavours and ingredients. Examples of variations and interpretations include:
- Piña Colada Popsicle at Señor Paleta Bar in San Juan is a fun, light ice cream pop that blends fresh pineapple with coconut cream.
- Coco Pirata (Coconut Pirate) at the Villa Cofresi Hotel in Rincón, a unique twist on the cocktail that combines four different rums and includes a dash of cinnamon served for over half a century at the hotel.
- Tepache Colada at San Juan’s JungleBird cocktail bar is made from fermented pineapple rinds (baked with spices and piloncillo aka sugar cane) and mixed with Don Q Gold Rum.
- Chef Dennys Rosario Brignoni’s Dessert Colada, a combination of a pineapple compote and vanilla cake topped with coconut mousse served in the rooftop bar and restaurant at Marriott’s AC Hotel San Juan Condado.
- Shrimp ceviche and piña colada custard served at San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel in Carolina.
- Mango Colada blended at the Copamarina Beach Resort in Guánica.