The Pina Colada is more than the subject of a 70s hit song. Puerto Rico’s national drink is also a frothy, fruity cocktail that’s surprisingly simple to make at home either with or without a blender. We go the blender-free route in this easy Pina Colada recipe. It’s a winner.
It’s impossible for us to discuss our Pina Colada recipe without breaking into song.
Rupert Holmes’ Escape burnt into our memories long before we were legally able to drink the milky rum libation or even think about making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape. Dating back to 1979, it’s a catchy yacht rock tune that’s passed the test of time with flying colors.
We suspect you’re in the same beachside boat if you’re a Gen X’er too. If not, once you listen to Holmes’ Escape (also known as the ‘Pina Colada Song‘), you won’t be able to liberate the tune from your ears either.
However, the best approach is to craft a Pina Colada cocktail at home and drink it with Escape blasting in the background. Not only will your taste buds sing with happiness, but you’ll feel like you’re on a sunny Caribbean beach regardless of the actual location and season.
What Is The Pina Colada?
Although piña colada literally translates to strained pineapple, the Pina Colada that we all know and love is something more. A lot more.
The Pina Colada is a classic rum cocktail that’s crafted with rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and lime juice. It’s a tropical drink that’s both frothy and fruity. And, depending on the bartender, the Pina Colada can be crafted with either a blender or a shaker.
History Of The Pina Colada Cocktail
The Pina Colada seems like it should have been created at a tropical beach resort and that’s exactly where it was born. Puerto Rican barman Ramon Marrero blended the original Pina Colada with five ingredients (rum, coconut cream, heavy cream, fresh pineapple juice and crushed ice) more than a half-century ago.
Marrero didn’t just craft the world’s first Pina Colada at the Caribe Hilton in sunny San Jose in 1954. He also crafted a cocktail legend – a status that was legitimized in 1978 when the Piña Colada was designated Puerto Rico’s official drink.
Pina Colada Ingredients
While Marrero included both coconut cream and heavy cream in his original Pina Colada recipe, we include the following ingredients in our Pina Colada recipe:
White rum is the only liquor in our Pina Colada recipe.
We like to use Bacardi Carta Blanca rum since that’s what we typically have in our liquor cabinet. As a bonus, the popular rum, which has a 37.5% ABV, is distilled in Puerto Rico.
Discover our favorite rum cocktails.
Cream of Coconut
You may be tempted to use a can of coconut cream instead of cream of coconut. Don’t do it! Despite the similar names, the two liquids are not the same.
The easiest option is to buy a can of Coco Lopez cream of coconut from your local market or from Amazon. Another option is to make cream of coconut at home with just three ingredients – coconut milk, granulated sugar and salt. We used this easy cream of coconut recipe and will probably use it again.
Freshly made cream of coconut is so delicious that you’ll want to lick the spoon if you whip up a batch at home.
How To Craft A Pina Colada Cocktail
Unlike Marrero’s original recipe, our recipe doesn’t require a blender.
The first step is to measure the three liquids with a jigger. We use a Japanese jigger for the this and other recipes to get accurate, clean pours.
Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.
Immediately pour each liquid directly into a shaker. We use a Boston shaker for this and other recipes since it doesn’t leak and is easy to clean.
Buy a Boston shaker from Amazon if you don’t have a shaker or if you want to improve your at-home mixology experience.
Add ice and shake until the liquids are combined and chilled. This step should take about 20 seconds.
We also like to drink our Pina Colada on the rocks. However, you can opt for crushed ice or no ice instead.
Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry or two.
Adding a cocktail umbrella isn’t required. However, adding one provides a tropical touch that completes the drink.
Pina Colada Drink Alternatives
Hopefully, you will love our Pina Colada recipe just the way it is. Either way, feel free to make it your own using one of the following variations:
Pina Colada FAQs
A Pina Colada is classic rum cocktail that’s crafted with rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and lime juice
The Pina Colada was invented in Puerto Rico.
White Rum, Cream of Coconut, Lime Juice, Pineapple Juice, Pineapple Wedge (garnish), Maraschino Cherry (garnish) and Ice Cubes
The Pina Colada cocktail is shaken unless it’s blended.
Drinking any cocktail in excess will cause intoxication. The Pina Colada is no exception to this rule.
Although a proper Pina Colada is crafted with natural ingredients, it’s a stretch to call it healthy considering the cocktail’s high levels of both sugar and saturated fat.
Pina Colada Recipe
- 2 ounces white rum
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- 2 ounces cream of coconut
- 1/4 ounce lime juice
- ice cubes
- pineapple wedges (garnish)
- maraschino cherries (garnish)
- Pour rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut and lime juice into a shaker.
- Add ice cubes and shake until the liquids are combined and chilled.
- Strain into a glass of your choice. (We like to add ice cubes to the glass but they're optional since the mixture is already chilled.)
- Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.
- Do not replace the cream of coconut with coconut cream. The two liquids are completely different.
- Pull out the blender if you want to craft a blended Pina Colada.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we earn from qualifying purchases.
[240 Count] Umbrella Cocktail Drink Picks - Assorted Tropical Colors Party Toothpicks
Cream of Coconut Coco Lopez Set of 2 Can
Japanese Jigger - Premium Double Cocktail Jigger, 1oz/2oz made from Stainless Steel 304
Premium Cocktail Shaker Set: Two-Piece Pro Boston Shaker Set. Unweighted 18oz & Weighted 28oz Martini Drink Shaker made from Stainless Steel 304
OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer
Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer (Lemon)
Thirsty For More Cocktails?
Try our Absinthe Frappe, Amaretto Sour, Americano, Aperol Spritz, Aviation, Bee’s Knees, Bellini, Between the Sheets, Bijou, Black Russian, Boulevardier, Brandy Alexander, Bronx, Brooklyn, Brown Derby, Café Maria Theresia, Caipirinha, Clover Club, Coquito, Corpse Reviver #2, Cosmopolitan, Creamsicle, Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, Dark and Stormy, Diplomat, Dirty Shirley, Eggnog, Emerald, Espresso Martini, French 75, French Connection, Fuzzy Navel, G+T, Garibaldi, Gibson, Gimlet, Gold Rush, Grasshopper, Hanky Panky, Hemingway Daiquiri, Hugo Spritz, Hurricane, Irish Coffee, Jungle Bird, Kentucky Mule, Kir Royale, Last Word, Lemon Drop Martini, Limoncello Spritz, Mai Tai, Manhattan, Maple Bourbon Smash, Margarita, Martinez, Mary Pickford, Mauresque, Milk Punch, Mind Eraser, Mint Julep, Mojito, Moscow Mule, Mudslide, Negroni, Negroni Sbagliato, New York Sour, Old Fashioned, Old Pal, Paloma, Paper Plane, Pimm’s Cup, Pink Lady, Pisco Sour, Porto Tonico, Ramos Gin Fizz, Ranch Water, Revolver, Rum Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Sex on the Beach, Sidecar, Siesta, Spicy Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, Tipperary, Tom Collins, Tomate, Vesper Martini, Vieux Carré, Whiskey Ginger, Whiskey Sour, White Lady, White Russian and Woo Woo cocktail recipes.
View the latest Web Story.
Pin It For Later
About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: June 11, 2023