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Piña Colada: 3 Variations & 3 Similar Cocktails (+ Recipe)

Piña Coladas are famed as one of the most common types of cocktails out there, with the beverage being available on most drink menus. In this article, we teach you everything there is to know about this delicious and beloved drink – including how to make your own at home.

If you enjoy cocktails, chances are you’ve tried one or two Piña Colada’s in your time. This iconic drink can be found in most cocktail bars and is a crowd favorite. But what is the history of this drink and how can you go about making one at home?

If you want to know more about Piña Coladas, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about this drink, from its origins all the way to the best brands of alcohol to use when making one. Let’s go ahead and jump right into it.

What Piña Colada Is

What Piña Colada Is

A Piña Colada is an extremely popular kind of cocktail that is served in restaurants and cocktail bars all over the world. This drink has a rich and complex history, as well as a rich and complex taste. Let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the key facts that you should know about Piña Coladas.

Brief History / Origin

Brief History / Origin

One of the earliest theories as to how the Piña Colada first came about dates all the way back to the 19th century. It was said that Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí gave his crew a drink to boost their energy and morale.

This drink was made from white rum, coconut, and pineapple – the earliest version of a Piña Colada.

Another account by Caribe Hilton Hotel claims that the Piña Colada was invented by a bartender named Ramón ‘Monchito’ Marrero when he was employed at the hotel. It was said that he created the recipe for this drink in order to capture the true essence of Puerto Rico.

However, another person who once worked at the Caribe Hilton Hotel named Ricardo Garcia claimed that it was he who invented the Piña Colada in 1953.

An alternate theory was presented by Barrachina, a restaurant in Puerto Rico, which stated that "a traditional Spanish bartender Don Ramon Portas Mingot in 1963 created what became the world’s famous drink: the Piña Colada."

Clearly, there is much speculation and debate regarding the true origins of the Piña Colada. Whatever the case may be, the drink skyrocketed in popularity and was named the official drink of Puerto Rico in 1978.

Since then, the popularity of the Piña Colada has only grown and spread. These days, you can find the drink on the menu of most establishments that serve alcoholic beverages.

Ingredients

Ingredients

So, what exactly is in a Piña Colada? The cocktail has such a rich and delicious flavor that it may surprise you to know that this drink does not contain a wide range of ingredients.

In fact, a Piña Colada contains very few ingredients – three, to be exact. The ingredients in a traditional Piña Colada are as follows:

White rum – This is the alcoholic drink of the base and gives the drink a nice balance of sweetness and spice. The smooth and clean taste of white rum pairs perfectly with the other ingredients that are used to make a Piña Colada.

Coconut cream – For that iconic smooth and creamy taste, coconut cream is added to the Piña Colada. This gives the drink its iconic tropical and summery flavor, as well as bringing along a cooling sensation that combats the slight spice of the white rum.

Pineapple juice – The final ingredient needed in order to make a Piña Colada is pineapple juice.

This again brings fresh, fruity, and tropical flavors to the drink. Not only does the fresh flavor of pineapple pair well with white rum, but the slight tang of the fruit balances out the smooth coconut cream.

When it comes to the ingredients of a Piña Colada, you may notice some variation depending on a range of factors such as region, season, or even depending on the specific bar or restaurant that you are ordering from.

The brand of white rum can vary greatly, as can the coconut cream and pineapple juice. For example, some bartenders may elect to use coconut milk or pineapple syrup. That being said, white rum, coconut cream, and fresh pineapple juice are the traditional ingredients of this drink.

Best Rum Brands for Piña Colada

Best Rum Brands for Piña Colada

Are you wanting to try your hand at making a Piña Colada at home but can’t quite decide what the best brand of rum to buy is? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are our picks for the best rum brands to use when making a Piña Colada.

Malibu

Malibu

Malibu is an extremely popular brand of rum – and for good reason. This rum is super smooth with a delicious coconut flavor that pairs perfectly with the coconut cream that is present in Piña Colada’s.

The tropical flavors that can be found in this rum, as well as the smooth mouthfeel, make it perfect when whipping up a Piña Colada.

Virago 151 High Proof Rum

Virago 151 High Proof Rum

Virago 151 High Proof Rum has an extremely rich yet delectably smooth flavor profile. This brand of rum has strong notes of tropical fruit, which is why it makes our top picks for Piña Colada rums.

The flavors of this rum pair perfectly with the coconut cream and pineapple juice, making for a cohesive and well-balanced cocktail.

Don Q Cristal

Don Q Cristal

This brand of rum is another one that is extremely smooth on the palate. Don Q Cristal is known for being quite light, making it a popular choice for those wanting to make cocktails that are not overpowered by rum.

This brand lets all of the other ingredients shine and adds a slightly dry and bitter finish to the drink, which offsets the sweetness of the coconut cream and pineapple juice nicely.

Plantation 3 Stars

Plantation 3 Stars

Plantation 3 Stars is another light-bodied rum that is perfect for cocktails. The slightly bittersweet flavors that are present in this rum cut through the coconut cream and pineapple juice perfectly, ensuring that your Piña Colada is well-balanced.

The sweet notes of this rum bring out the sweet flavors of the pineapple, making it a great overall choice when making a Piña Colada.

While these are not the only acceptable brands of rum that you can use when making a Piña Colada, they are our top picks as we believe that they are the ones that pair the best with the other ingredients within the cocktail.

Recipe – How to Make a Piña Colada

Recipe – How to Make a Piña Colada

Are you wanting to try your hand at making a Piña Colada at home? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve got a step-by-step Piña Colada recipe for you to check out that will give you the perfect Piña Colada – every single time.

Ingredients:

  • 120ml pineapple juice
  • 60ml white rum
  • 60ml coconut cream

Pineapple Juice

Method:

  1. In a blender, add your pineapple juice, white rum, coconut cream, and a handful of ice. For a thicker consistency, use more ice. For a more watery, juice-like consistency, use less ice.
  2. Blend the ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, pour into a tall glass.
  4. Garnish with a wedge of pineapple (optional).
  5. Enjoy your delicious, freshly made Piña Colada.

A Piña Colada is one of the easiest and fastest cocktail recipes out there, so don’t be afraid to try your hand at making one. All you’ll need is three ingredients and a few minutes. You’ll have a delicious drink in your hands before you know it.

Time & Occasions for Drinking a Piña Colada

Time & Occasions for Drinking a Piña Colada

Due to the cool smoothness of the drink and the tropical flavors that are present, Piña Colada’s are often considered to be a drink that is to be enjoyed during the summer. You can sip on this drink at home, on the beach, or at a cocktail bar.

This cocktail is a must when on summer vacation, whether you’re drinking it on its own or pairing it with food. The simple and refreshing flavors of a Piña Colada make it the perfect drink to cool down on a hot day.

That being said, you don’t have to wait for a scorching hot day in order to enjoy a delicious Piña Colada. This cocktail can be enjoyed at any time of day, and during any season.

This drink will remain on most cocktail menus during all seasons and will taste equally delicious in winter as it does during the summertime.

Perfect Pairings

Perfect Pairings

Since Piña Coladas are so cooling and refreshing, this is the perfect drink to enjoy alongside spicy food. This cocktail will combat the heat and allow you to enjoy spicy food without any pain or discomfort.

The simple flavors of the Piña Colada also mean that this drink won’t overpower the flavors of the food you are eating, making it a great drink to enjoy alongside your meal.

Try pairing a Piña Colada with a spicy seafood dish such as spicy grilled shrimp, fish tacos, or even a mixed, seasoned seafood platter.

The fresh and spicy seafood will add to the summery and tropical mood that is often brought about when you drink a Piña Colada. This is an incredibly common food pairing for Piña Coladas, and you will frequently find this drink on the menu at seafood restaurants.

When it comes to smaller meals or bar snacks, you can’t go wrong with some tortilla chips and salsa, spicy peanuts, or chicken wings. Choosing savory and spicy foods will enhance the sweet and cooling taste of your Piña Colada, really highlighting its best features.

Best Glass to Serve a Piña Colada

Best Glass to Serve a Piña Colada

The best glass to serve a Piña Colada in is, as many of you may have already guessed: a classic Piña Colada glass. These glasses are also known as poco grande glasses and may be already very familiar to you.

Have you ever seen the tropical drink emoji? This is essentially what a poco grande glass or Piña Colada glass is. These glasses are large highball glasses with slightly flared lip.

The curved shape and short stem of a Piña Colada glass are fun and playful, matching the energy of the cocktail perfectly. These glasses just scream ‘beach vacation. There is truly no better glass to serve your Piña Colada in.

Variations of Piña Colada

Variations of Piña Colada

A standard, traditional Piña Colada is not the only version of this popular cocktail that exists in the world. There are many different variations of Piña Coladas out there that taste absolutely incredible.

If you are looking for a slightly new version of a Piña Colada cocktail to try, then why not order or make one of these?

Virgin Piña Colada

Virgin Piña Colada

The first and most popular variation of a classic Piña Colada is a Virgin Piña Colada. This is essentially exactly the same as a regular Piña Colada but it is entirely non-alcoholic.

This is perfect for those who do not drink alcohol and is something that is often ordered for kids during summer vacations so that they feel included in the fun.

You can make a Virgin Piña Colada by following our classic Piña Colada recipe but omitting the white rum. Most restaurants and cocktail bars will often have Virgin Piña Coladas on the menu or are happy to make them on request.

Frozen Piña Colada

Frozen Piña Colada

A Frozen Piña Colada is again, almost identical to a classic Piña Colada, except the texture of this drink is quite different. Rather than a creamy, yet liquidy consistency, a Frozen Piña Colada is super thick – almost like a slushy or a thickshake.

In order to make a quick and easy Frozen Piña Colada, all that you will need to do is freeze your pineapple juice in an ice cube tray and use these in your drink rather than the juice. What this does is give the cocktail a thick and icy texture that is perfect for a hot day.

Malibu Piña Colada

Malibu Piña Colada

As the name suggests, a Malibu Piña Colada is a classic Piña Colada that has been made using Malibu rum. This brand of rum is absolutely perfect in a Piña Colada as it is incredibly smooth and contains flavors that pair perfectly with coconut cream and pineapple juice.

If you’ve got a bottle of Malibu lying around, then a Malibu Piña Colada is definitely worth a try. Similarly, if you’re on the hunt for a good brand of rum to use in your Piña Colada, then Malibu is a great go-to selection.

Similar Cocktails You Will Enjoy

Similar Cocktails You Will Enjoy

Calling all Piña Colada lovers. If you’re a fan of Piña Coladas and are on the lookout for similar cocktails that you may also enjoy, then you’re in luck. Here are our picks for the best cocktails that Piña Colada enthusiasts are sure to love.

Painkiller

Painkiller

The Painkiller cocktail is a twist on the classic Piña Colada that is made using dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut cream.

This drink was invented in the 1970s in the British Virgin Islands, where the scorching hot temperatures left residents desperate for something to cure their reactions to the heat. Thus, the Painkiller was born.

If you enjoy a classic Piña Colada and are also a fan of orange, then this drink is definitely worth a try. A painkiller combines the standard flavors of a Piña Colada with the slight tang of orange juice. This pairs remarkably well with all of the other ingredients.

Rocket Fuel

Rocket Fuel

A Rocket Fuel cocktail is another drink that is extremely similar to a Piña Colada, with a variation when it comes to the base spirit.

The Rocket Fuel cocktail is made using the usual coconut cream and pineapple juice that is present in a Piña Colada – but instead of white rum, bitters and amaretto liqueur are used.

If you’re looking for a Piña Colada with a bit more kick to it, a Rocket Fuel cocktail is definitely the drink for you.

The addition of two different types of alcohol adds a bit of fire to this drink, and it also has a noticeable more intense and bitter taste to it which is offset by the sweet coconut cream and pineapple juice.

Konomi

Konomi

If you love the sweet and tropical taste of pineapple that is present in a Piña Colada, then a Konomi cocktail is definitely worth a try. This drink, from a Dallas bar called The Common Table combines coconut oil-washed vodka, pineapple syrup, sesame-infused Cocchi Americano, and matcha powder.

This cocktail has extremely rich and complex flavors that really elevate the drink and make it something that is truly incredible.

While this is not a drink that is particularly simple to make at home, it is definitely worth a try if you have the ingredients – or worth ordering if you happen to spot it on a cocktail menu.

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