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Pina Colada – No Blender Required

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 and it’s a winner.

Pina Colada with White Background from Above
Image: ©2foodtrippers

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?

Pina Colada with Pink Background from Above
Drinking a Pina Colada at home is the next best thing to drinking one on a beach. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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

Pina Colada with Red Background
The Pina Colada hails from Puerto Rico, the current home of Bacardi Rum. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Ingredients

Pina Colada Ingredients
Our Pina Colada recipe calls for white rum, cream of coconut milk, a pineapple, a lime, a maraschino cherry and ice cubes. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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
  • Cream of Coconut
  • Lime Juice
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Pineapple Wedge (garnish)
  • Maraschino Cherry (garnish)
  • Ice Cubes

White Rum

Pina Colada with Bacardi Rum Bottle
You can use any rum in your Pina Colada recipe. We choose to use Bacardi Carta Blanca rum in our Pina Colada recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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

Making Cream of Coconut at Home
Making cream of coconut is the way to go if you already have a can of coconut milk in your pantry. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. 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.

Warning
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

Pina Colada Mise en Place
Everything we need to craft a Pina Colada drink fit on this small cutting board. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Unlike Marrero’s original recipe, our recipe doesn’t require a blender. We experimented with Pina Colada recipes using our blender. However, it turns out that we prefer a simpler approach using the basic bar tools.

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 need 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.

Pouring Vodka into Pina Colada Shaker
Pouring the liquids into a shaker is also easy. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Add ice and shake until the liquids are combined and chilled. This step should take about 20 seconds.

Adding Ice to Pina Colada Shaker
Once you add ice cubes to the shaker, it’s time to shake things up. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Strain the shaken drink into a glass of your choice. We like to use a lowball glass but you may want to use a Hurricane glass or Poco Grande glass instead.

We also like to drink our Pina Colada on the rocks. However, you can opt for crushed ice or no ice instead.

Straining Pina Colada into Glass
Like magic, the shaken cocktail tastes like summer in a glass. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry or two.

Pina Colada with White Background Close Up
A colorful umbrella doesn’t make the Pina Colada taste better. Or does it? | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Adding a cocktail umbrella isn’t required. However, adding one provides a tropical touch that completes the drink.

Alternatives

Crafted Pina Colada with Ingredients
The first Pina Colada you craft at home likely won’t be the last. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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:

  • Use a blender to craft a frozen Pina Colada.
  • Top the cocktail with a rum float for an extra kick.
  • Replace the white rum with aged rum, gold rum, dark rum or Malibu rum.
  • Completely leave out rum to craft a Virgin Pina Colada.
  • Craft a Coquito instead. It’s another creamy cocktail with Puerto Rican roots.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Pina Colada?

A Pina Colada is classic rum cocktail that’s crafted with rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and lime juice

Where was the Pina Colada invented?

The Pina Colada was invented in Puerto Rico.

What are the ingredients in a Pina Colada?

White Rum, Cream of Coconut, Lime Juice, Pineapple Juice, Pineapple Wedge (garnish), Maraschino Cherry (garnish) and Ice Cubes

Is the Pina Colada shaken or stirred?

The Pina Colada cocktail is shaken unless it’s blended.

Does drinking a Pina Colada make you drunk?

Drinking any cocktail in excess will cause intoxication. The Pina Colada is no exception to this rule.

Is the Pina Colada healthy?

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.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Pina Colada with Pink Background
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Pina Colada Recipe

You don't have to love being caught in the rain to love drinking a Pina Colada. The sweet cocktail is as easy to craft as it is to sip regardless of the weather.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 408kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 2 ounces cream of coconut
  • ¼ ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • ice cubes
  • pineapple wedges (garnish)
  • maraschino cherries (garnish)

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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About The Authors

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 the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: June 11, 2023

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