The piña colada is a sweet cocktail containing coconut milk, pineapple juice and light rum. Piña colada is considered a traditional drink in Puerto Rico. Actually the cocktail has been bearing the title since 1978. The charm of this unique drink is so glamorous that it quite deservedly takes its place among the ranks of the most favored alcoholic beverages in the world, along with Cuba Libre, Margarita, Mojito, Cosmopolitan and Daiquiri.
Composition of Piña Colada
The fruit contents of piña colada determine its rich composition, including healthy nutrients. Studies have revealed that the celebrated cocktail contains saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, sugars, proteins, water and fibers. Other substances present in its composition include sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese and magnesium. Piña colada is a source of vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K.
History of Piña Colada
The origin of the drink is not completely clear since 3 Puerto Rican bartenders continue to argue over the title of its father. What is known is that it appeared on the cover page of a popular magazine in the 1920s. Literal translation of the name from Spanish means "strained pineapple". In those days the drink was comprised of only pineapple juice, lime juice, light rum, sugar and ice. The ingredients were crushed together, while the resulting drink was strained and poured into glasses.
However it is said that one of the bartenders that is thought to be the discoverer of the piña colada, Ramón 'Monchito' Marrero Pérez, decided to add the milk of a coconut to the cocktail recipe. From a plaque in Puerto Rico we see that the first piña colada was served in the bar of a local hotel in the summer of 1952. According to those familiar with the case, the bartender stirred up the emblematic drink after his boss asked him to create a brand new cocktail with which to impress the high-class guests of the hotel.
Pérez took his boss's demand to heart and jumped right into creating the magical cocktail. For several months he experimented with different combinations until at last the drink with the unique taste and aroma came into existence. But this origin story is contested by Ricardo García, who also worked in the Caribbean. The 3rd contender is named Ramón Portas Mingot, stating that it was he who mixed the famed drink in 1963 in the local restaurant Barrachina. The restaurant remains open and to this day upholds Mingot's claim.
But even if it is not clear who the true discoverer of the piña colada was, another fact about the cocktail remains undisputed - it rapidly gained worldwide popularity and became extremely loved in its country of origin. Because of this it was transformed into the national drink of Puerto Rico and gave birth to National Piña Colada Day. Traditionally it is celebrated every year on July 10 with lots of drinks and entertainment.
Types of Piña Colada
Even though in the past the Caribbean cocktail was made only from pineapple juice, coconut milk, ice and rum, today they add other ingredients as well. This naturally explains the different types of piña colada that have emerged. Currently the following types are known:
- Amaretto colada - in this variation the rum is substituted with Amaretto;
- Chi chi - the rum is substituted with vodka;
- Lava Flow - here a piña colada is mixed with strawberry Daiquiri;
- Staten Island Ferry - the drink combines coconut rum and pineapple juice with ice;
- Virgin piña colada or piñita colada - here there is no alcohol used.
Production of Piña Colada
Piña colada is made with different ingredient ratios depending on the personal preferences of the consumers. But even so, according to one famous recipe, they use 1 part coconut milk, 1 part white rum, 3 parts pineapple juice and several ice cubes. All of these ingredients need to be placed in a blender or shaker in order to be crushed well.
The resulting mix is then poured into a cold cocktail glass. Some like to mix the drink with sparkling water but this does not improve the taste of the cocktail all that much. If desired you can decorate the cocktail glass with pieces of pineapple, orange, banana, lime or other fruits.
Choosing and Storing Piña Colada
If you don't have the opportunity to make a piña colada at home, you can buy the drink from supermarkets, where it is widespread. You can go for the classic type or a new variation. But in any case don't forget to check the expiration date.
As far as storing the drink, be sure to check the manufacturer's label since some types of piña colada may require storage in the fridge and others - not. And of course make sure that the bottle of the drink is tightly closed.
Cooking with Piña Colada
Piña colada is a drink whose fruity taste and overwhelming tropical scent are preferred when making various cocktails. The coconut-milk charm can be further enriched by Baileys and other creamy liqueurs. Piña colada can also be used in cooking. A small amount of the cocktail might give exoticism to different fruit salads, and also all kinds of baked goods, including layer cakes, rolls, pastes, cakes, cheesecakes, ice creams, eclairs, biscuits.
Let us offer you a piña colada recipe and strawberry piña colada.