pina colada

TRANSCENDING TIKI The cool and creamy Piña Colada has several claimants of its invention, but Donn Beach, with his Don the Beachcomber restaurants, must be credited for inducting the Piña Colada into tiki culture and spreading it everywhere the sun shines. It was an easy task for a drink so delicious that Joan Crawford declared it "better than slapping Bette Davis in the face." Today, as in the 1950s, the Piña Colada remains proudly Puerto Rican, combining two island hallmarks-cream of coconut and smooth Bacardi® rum-with fresh pineapple, in one of the coolest cocktails to ever take a spin in the blender-before kicking back under a tiny umbrella.

THE PINA COLADA TODAY

Add ingredients to a blender with 1/2 cup of crushed ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a frozen or chilled glass and garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple and several pineapple leaves.

FRESH TAKES

Try these simple ways to take this classic cocktail in new directions.
  1. Substitute Grey Goose® vodka for a King Henry.
  2. Add a scoop of premium ice cream in vanilla or a fun tropical flavor.
  3. Replace a portion of the pineapple with mango, papaya, banana or fresh berries.
  4. Boost the complexity of the drink by substituting Bacardi® Añejo, or Bacardi® 8 for 1 part of rum.

HISTORY OF THE PINA COLADA

1791 Puerto Rico's most famous pirate, Roberto Cofresí y Ramírez de Arellano, is born in Cabo Rojo. Cofresi is credited with boosting his crew's morale with a drink combining white rum, pineapple juice and coconut milk until his execution in 1825.

1922 Travel magazine writes of a cocktail from Bacardi's Cuban homeland, "But best of all is a Piña Colada, the juice of a perfectly ripe pineapple-a delicious drink in itself-rapidly shaken up with ice, sugar, lime and Bacardi rum in delicate proportions. What could be more luscious, more mellow and more fragrant?"

1936 Bacardi Corporation is registered in Puerto Rico and given a license by the island's Treasurer to conduct business, establishing production of Cuba's smooth, light-bodied Bacardi® rum safely in a U.S. territory, where it continues today.

1954 Working as an agricultural professor at University of Puerto Rico, Ramon López Irizarry devises an improved method of extracting the cream from the coconut pulp using cane sugar, naming his commercial cream of coconut Coco López.

1955 Ramon "Monchito" Marrero, bartender at the Caribe Hilton's Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, claims to have labored for three months before perfecting a frozen drink of rum, pineapple, heavy cream and cream of coconut, the modern Piña Colada.

1978 Puerto Rico names the Piña Colada its official national drink, as total sales of the tropical sipper top 3 million at the Caribe Hilton. Today, the Piña Colada and Bacardi® rum are ambassadors of Puerto Rico around the world, more widely recognized than the official national symbol, el Coquí, a tiny chirping tree frog.

1979 Written and recorded by Rupert Holmes, Escape becomes the last No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit of the 1970s. The song is quickly renamed Escape (The Piña Colada Song), for its memorable chorus, "If you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain."

2011 Seventeen bartenders compete in the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) Piña Colada Competition before judges award Debbi Peek of Chicago for her No Passport Required, made with smoked Bacardi® Añejo Rum, coconut milk, and purees of ginger and pineapple.