Best Pina Colada Recipe

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Best Pina Colada Recipe

The Best Pina Colada Recipe

Pina colada comes from the Spanish “pina” for pineapple, and “colada” for strained. It’s seen as the quintessential tropical cocktail, conjuring images of white-sanded beaches, azure skies, turquoise waters and swaying palm trees heavy with coconuts. It consists of white rum, pineapple juice and cream of coconut, all blended in a heavenly concoction that is topped with a maraschino cherry.

The pina colada has been recognised as Puerto Rico’s national drink since 1978. And its popularity hasn’t dimmed one bit. But how did this scrumptious cocktail come into being? And more importantly, how do you make it?

The History

One balmy afternoon in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar, a bartender was commissioned with the challenging task of designing a new cocktail to “wow” the bar’s clientele. The bartender, one Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, gladly rose to the task, and locked himself up for three months of furious mixing, blending and shaking. The result was the pina colada.

The hotel was delighted with Monchito’s efforts, and promptly bought the recipe. The popularity of the pina colada exploded all over Puerto Rico and beyond. In the 70’s, Monchito Marrero was showered with awards for his tantalizing invention. Puerto Rico was put on the map as being one of the Caribbean’s most idyllic destinations. The cocktail’s immortality was consolidated in 1979 with the soft-rock hit, Escape, by Rupert Holmes, which became commonly known as “The Pina Colada Song.”

How to Make It

There are many ways in which a good pina colada can be put together. But, if you want to step into the shoes of the legendary Monchito Marrero himself, you have to look to the original recipe. Thankfully, the details of this recipe are outlined in Jose L. Diaz de Villegas’s seminal work, “Puerto Rico La Grand Cocina Del Caribe.”

In it, he describes a pina colada as made up of 30ml of white rum, 30ml of coconut cream and 90ml of pineapple juice. This mixture is furiously shaken with ice, and then strained into a tall glass. It should be garnished with a maraschino cherry, although Monchito also noted that a wedge of fresh pineapple would also suffice.


The traditional pina colada recipe is a great platform for a host of other, exciting variations. A popular practice these days is to enjoy a pina colada in frozen form, blended with ice until smooth. Others use dark rum instead of light rum for a richer pina colada experience. An amaretto colada substitutes rum with amaretto, making for nuttier, earthier drink. A Jackolada adds 15mls of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whisky to the mix, while a Marula colada adds a dash of Amarula Cream for a more African slant on the drink.

A Rumchata colada gives some Aztec flavour to the drink, adding half parts Horchata and Malibu rum. Teetotallers can also enjoy a scrumptious alcohol-free pinita colada or virgin pina colada. One of the more bizarre varietals is the Avo Colada, with includes avocado for the creation of a particularly creamy cocktail.

What are you waiting for? Get hold of some good ingredients, tall glasses and straws – and be prepared to be whisked away to the beaches of Puerto Rico.