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Piña Colada

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Piña Colada

Piña Colada
IBA Official Cocktail
Type Cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Served Blended with ice (frozen style)
Standard garnish

pineapple slice and maraschino cherry

Standard drinkware
Poco Grande glass
IBA specified ingredients*
Preparation Mix with crushed ice until smooth. Pour into chilled glass, garnish and serve.
* Piña Colada recipe at International Bartenders Association

The piña colada (Spanish: piña, pineapple + colada, strained) is a sweet, rum-based cocktail made with rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, usually served either blended or shaken with ice. It may be garnished with a pineapple wedge, a maraschino cherry or both. The piña colada has been the national drink of Puerto Rico since 1978.[1]


The name Piña Colada literally means strained pineapple, a reference to the freshly pressed and strained pineapple juice used in the drink's preparation.

Three Puerto Rican bartenders contest the ownership of their national drink. Ramón 'Monchito' Marrero Pérez claims to have first made it at the Caribe Hilton Hotel's Beachcomber Bar in San Juan on 15 August 1952, using the then newly-available Coco López cream of coconut. Coco López was developed in Puerto Rico in 1948 by Don Ramón López-Irizarry, hence the Puerto Rican connection and the 1952 account of the drink's creation. Some say the drink did not acquire its name until the 1960s.

Ricardo García, who also worked at the Caribe, says that it was he who invented the drink, while Ramón Portas Mingot says he created it in 1963 at the Barrachina Restaurant, 104 Fortaleza Street, Old San Juan. The restaurant stands by his claim to this day.

The Caribe Hilton Hotel sits on a 17-acre peninsula outside San Juan and was the first luxury hotel to open in the region, becoming a popular destination for the rich and famous who helped spread word of the drink.

National Piña Colada Day is celebrated on the islands on 10 July.

Other stories

The earliest known story states that in the 19th century, Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí, to boost his crew's morale, gave them a beverage or cocktail that contained coconut, pineapple and white rum.[2] This was what would be later known as the famous piña colada. With his death in 1825, the recipe for the piña colada was lost.

Barcelona-born Hilton employee Ricardo Gracia claims to have invented the contended drink in 1954 under a series of fortuitous circumstances. Rumor has it that while Gracia worked at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan de Puerto Rico, the coconut cutters’ union decided to strike. Until that moment, the Puerto Rican drink of choice had been the popular Coco-Loco, a mix of coconut milk, rum and coconut cream served inside a fresh macheted coconut. When the coconut supply was halted by the strike, resourceful Ricardo Gracia made the executive decision to relocate the ingredients of the Coco-Loco inside hollowed out pineapples (evidently the pineapple cutters’ union had not followed suit with a strike of their own). Once the coconut flavor and rum came into contact with the sweet acidity of the pineapple pulp, the piña colada was inevitably born.

Barrachina, a restaurant in Puerto Rico, also claims to be the birthplace of the piña colada:
"In 1963, on a trip to South America, Mr Barrachina met another popular Spaniard and bartender Mr. Ramon Portas Mingot. Don Ramon has worked with the best places in Buenos Aires and associated with 'Papillon' the most luxurious bar in Carcao and was also recognized for his cocktail recipe books. Pepe Barrachina and Don Ramon developed a great relationship. While working as the main bartender at Barrachina (a restaurant in Puerto Rico), Ramon mixed pineapple juice, coconut cream, condensed milk and ice in a blender, creating a delicious and refreshing drink, known today as the Piña Colada.


This cocktail has been famous in Puerto Rico since 1978, and it became more widely known after Rupert Holmes released his 1979 song "Escape", commonly known as "The Piña Colada Song".


There are many recipes of how to make a piña colada but the one that his friends tell in the book of José L. Díaz de Villegas to be the original recipe created by Monchito, is the following:

"Pour 3 ounces of coconut cream, 6 ounces of pineapple juice and 112 ounces of white rum into a blender or shaker with crushed ice, and blend or shake very well until smooth. Pour into chilled glass, garnish with pineapple wedge and/or a maraschino cherry."


Different proportions of the core ingredients, as well as different types of rum, may all be used in the Piña Colada. Other named variations include:

  • Amaretto colada — amaretto substituted for rum[3]
  • Chi chi - with vodka in place of rum
  • Lava Flow — strawberry daiquiri and piña colada blended together[4]
  • Staten Island Ferry — coconut rum and pineapple juice over ice
  • Virgin piña colada or piñita colada — without the rum
  • Variants of Blue Hawaii with creme of coconut differ from Pina Colada mainly by including also blue curacao.

See also


  1. ^ Nuestra piña colada cumple 60 años: Esta bebida nacional ha formado parte de la cultura popular boricua durante seis décadas. Tatiana Pérez Rivera. El Nuevo Dia. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Con diez cañones por banda... y una piña colada en la mano". El Nuevo Diario, EFE. 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  3. ^ "Frozen/Mixed — Amaretto Colada". Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  4. ^ "Lava Flow". Retrieved 2007-06-20. 

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