How to Mix a Piña Colada

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Few cocktails pay homage to summer vacation or poolside lounging as faithfully as the pina colada, a sweet, velvety blend of rum, pineapple and coconut that oozes tropical living. Although it is one of the simplest cocktails to make, the original recipe from the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico allegedly took some three months to perfect before its 1954 launch. Today, the pina colada is Puerto Rico’s national drink, but the ingredients can be sourced from any local supermarket.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh pineapple
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp, heavy chef’s knife
  • Light or gold rum
  • Cream of coconut
  • Heavy cream
  • Ice
  • Blender
  • Highball cocktail glasses
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Unsweetened pineapple juice

Authentic Recipe

  • Lay a fresh unpeeled pineapple sideways on a chopping board and slice it into disc-shaped sections with a heavy, sharp knife.

  • Cut two or three discs into triangular wedges with the rind still on for garnish.

  • Remove the rind from the remaining discs and cut them into chunks.

  • Combine 2 parts light or gold rum, 1 part cream of coconut, 1 part heavy cream and a handful of fresh pineapple chunks in a blender and pulse for up to a minute. Drop in ice cubes through the hole in the blender lid, and blend until the liquid becomes smooth and evenly colored.

  • Pour the mixture into a highball cocktail glass, and garnish it with a maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge.

Light Cocktail

  • Pour 2 parts light or gold rum, 1 part cream of coconut and 2 parts unsweetened pineapple juice into a blender and pulse for up to a minute.

  • Pour into a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and shake vigorously for up to a minute.

  • Transfer immediately to a cocktail glass and garnish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the recipe authentic by using Coco Lopez cream of coconut for maximum sweetness.
  • Use Dominican, Puerto Rican or Cuban light rum for a genuine Caribbean cocktail. White rum is traditionally reserved for mixing, but some connoisseurs prefer the rounder aromas and intensity of aged dark rums.
  • Serve a pina colada in a tall glass, preferably chilled. "Esquire" magazine recommends a Collins glass, a straight tumbler slightly more narrow than the highball. Hurricane glasses, with a slightly bulbous base, are also acceptable.
  • Avoid coconut cream, coconut milk or sweetened pineapple juice, all of which will give you a watery, insipid drink.

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  • Photo Credit schulzhattingen/iStock/Getty Images
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