International Pina Colada Day takes place July 10 and, if you’ve never had one of the sweet, powerful drinks, here’s the perfect time.
The Pina Colada was made famous by the Escape Song (If You Like Pina Coladas), by Rupert Holmes, quite possibly one of the cheesiest songs every written.
But the famous (and delicious) tropical cocktail was actually invented in Puerto Rico where, legend has it, Hollywood legend Joan Crawford once declared the boozy beverage as being as “better than slapping Bette Davis in the face!”
The sweet mix of coconut cream, pineapple juice, white rum, and ice was born in the island’s capital, San Juan, but the identity of its creator has caused much controversy over the years.
Three different bartenders claim the invention as their own and the Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan is the setting for two of the original stories dating back to 1954,” according to information from Discover Puerto Rico.
“Meanwhile, a mixologist at Barrachina in Old San Juan also claims he invented the piña colada in 1963, and today there lies a plaque at the entrance to commemorate the famous cocktail’s birthplace.
Other islanders believe it dates back even further to the 1800s, and credit the fruity cocktail to Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí, who allegedly served piña coladas to his crew to boost morale.”
Visit Puerto Rico and you can try a Piña Colada Popsicle at Señor Paleta bar in San Juan. Or maybe check out the Coco Pirata (Coconut Pirate) at the Villa Cofresí Hotel in Rincón, an unusual take that combines four rums and includes a dash of cinnamon.
Or try an edgier creation; mixologists at the JungleBird cocktail bar in San Juan are the creators of the Tepache Colada, “made from fermented pineapple rinds that are baked with spices and piloncillo (sugar cane).”
Can’t wait until the pandemic is over and it’s easy to fly again? Here’s the traditional take, from the team at Discover Puerto Rico.
60 mL Coconut cream
120 mL Pineapple juice
4 Ice cubes
60 mL White rum
To garnish: Cherries, pineapple wedges and whipped cream
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. Serves one.