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Nothing says beach time or tropical vacation quite as well as a deliciously cold piña colada. The taste of coconut melded with pineapple and rum is like sunshine in a glass. While you can grab a piña colada at just about any bar, its birthplace is in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But there seems to be some controversy as to who actually created the drink. It is reported by some that it was first made in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel by a bartender named Ramon “Monchito” Marrero during his quest to create a signature drink. But that is disputed by the story of another bartender at that hotel, Ricardo Garcia, who is said to have discovered the concoction in the same year during a coconut shortage.

And, in a third version of this story, the Restaurant Barrachina’s owner is said to have hired a mixologist named Ramon Portas Mingot who first served the drink in 1963. The venue even has a plaque commemorating what they claim is their discovery. While we may never solve the mystery of the drink’s inception, we do know that the piña colada is the official beverage of Puerto Rico – July 10th is National Piña Colada Day.

Traditional Piña Colada Recipe

Total Time: 15 minutes Prep Time: 10 minutes | Yields: 2

Ingedients:

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1-ounce dark rum (optional)
  • 2 ounces sweetened cream of coconut
  • 2 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • ½ fresh pineapple, peeled, cut into 1½-inch pieces (If you can't find fresh pineapples, use frozen instead.)
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • maraschino cherries

Directions:

  1. Add rum, cream of coconut, coconut milk, pineapple and juice to a blender and top with ice.

  2. Blend until smooth and frosty, 15 seconds. Pour into two glasses and top each with a maraschino cherry.

Tip

You can substitute Kahlua for the rum. For a nonalcoholic version, replace the rum with lemon-lime soda.

Pineapple Vodka-lada Recipe

Total Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Yields: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces pineappl-flavored vodka (preferably Stoli) 
  • 2 ounces vanilla-flavored vodka (perferably Stoli)
  • 2 ounces sweetened cream of coconut
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  •  1/2 cup diced pineapple, frozen   
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 cup ice
  • maraschino cherries

Directions:

  1. Add both vodkas, rum, cream of coconut, heavy cream, pineapple and juice to blender and top with ice.

  2. Blend until smooth and frosty, 15 seconds. Pour into two glasses and top each with a maraschino cherry.

Tip

You can use plain vodka instead of the infused kind. Coconut infused vodka also works well in this recipe.You can also swap out vodka and replace with amaretto instead.

Colada Light

Ingredients:

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 4 minutes | Yields: 2

  • 2 ounces pineapple-flavored vodka (preferably Stoli) 
  • 2 ounces vanilla-flavored vodka (perferably Stoli)
  • 6 ounces of pineapple juice  
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 4 ounces lemon-lime soda
  • maraschino cherries
  • fresh pineapple slices

Directions:

  1. Add 1/2 cup of ice to shaker and 1/2 cup ice each to two highball glasses. Add both vodkas, pineapple juice and lime juice to shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.

  2. Pour over ice in glasses and top off with lemon-lime soda. Stir. Top off with marachino cherries and pineapple slices.

Tip

By adding the soda after shaking the drink remains fizzy. You can use coconut and pineapple flavored rums for the same effect.

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About the Author

Cheryl S. Grant

Cheryl S. Grant has reported & written for Crain’s, Glamour, Reader's Digest, Cosmo, Brides, Latina, Yoga Journal, MSN, USA Today, Family Circle, Taste of Home, Spa Weekly, You Beauty, Spice Island, and Health Daily. She investigates trends and targets profiles subjects using a combination of deep background research (database, periodicals, preliminary interviews, social media), write and edit compelling stories in a variety of beats including beauty, health, travel, nutrition, diet, law, medicine, advocacy, and entertainment.