Originally written on July 10, 2020 – updated 2023
Rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice are all it takes to whisk you away to a tropical location.
Have yourself a mini-vacation by sipping on a piña colada!
The Pina Colada has a long and noble history, both as a drink, and as the heart of a song about not giving up on love.
Its name comes from the basis of its creation, Piña meaning “Pineapple” and Colada meaning “Strained.”
This drink is a delicious mix of all the things that speak to the Caribbean and tropical locales, with the pineapple juice mixed together with a rich coconut cream, spiked up with just a bit of white rum into the mix.
Is there anything that speaks more of warm white sand beaches and beautiful azure skies than a drink that was born on those same shores?
As befits a drink born of tropic fruits from tropical shores, stirred with a drink distilled from the rich sugar born drink favored by merchants and pirates alike, the history of the Pina Colada is filled with mystery, folklore, and conflict.
Its first and oldest story is born in the Caribbean waters around Puerto Rico, upon the ship of one Roberto Cofresi, Captain of a crew of the foulest batch of pirates to sail the seas in the early 19th century. While this is the earliest known origin of the drink, used to boost the morale of the crew, the recipe was lost for a time after his death in 1825.
It wasn’t until 1954 that it was to find itself rediscovered by one Ricardo Garcia, a mixologist born in Barcelona and working at a Hilton.
As story goes, it was discovered as a series of fortunately unfortunate events, starting with a strike of the coconut cutters union that led to a shortage of the favored cup of the resorts favored drink, the Coco-Loco. Without a freshly macheted coconut shell to serve it in, Ricardo adapted to the circumstances in front of him by presenting the drink in a hollowed out pineapple instead. Thus, according to this bit of lore, the Pina Colada was reborn.
According to another story, the frosty and delightfully creamy concoction of pineapple, rum, and coconut cream was first created in Puerto Rico in 1954. Although its history is contested among Puerto Ricans, it is rumored that the bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero first prepared it at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 16, 1954. The hotel had requested that Monchito mix a new signature drink that embodied the flavors of the island and shortly after he accepted the challenge, the Piña Colada was born.
Regardless of its history, we can all agree that most of us love this drink. On July 10, we celebrate National Piña Colada Day so kick back with the tropical, frothy, boozy cocktail and do the best thing possible with them… drink them!
But don’t forget that It tastes good even without the alcohol, and It has it’s own song!
Yes, this drink is so great that people have to sing about it! Ask around and we are sure you’ll find at least one person who can sing the world-famous Rupert Holmes song “Escape”.
“If you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain…”
Images from web – Google Research