If you like Pina Coladas, the vibrant Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, where the famous cocktail was invented, is the place for you. As a US Territory is also easy to visit, as passports are not required for US citizens.
The Pina Colada is believed to have been born in the mid 1900s in the cobble-streeted capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan. No less than three famous bartenders have claimed to have invented the classic taste combination of pineapple, coconut milk and rum but personally I’m a fan of the legend that the Puerto Rican pirate, Roberto Cofresi, was the first to serve the beverage.
As fame of the cocktail spread, resorts and restaurants across Puerto Rica began to create their own unique take on the classic cocktail, developing what I like to refer to as a “Pina Colada Trail”. Open4Fun jots down some of the best places on the island to sample the cocktail:
- Your first stops on the Pina Colada Trail should be at the Caribe Hilton and the Barrachina – both of which claim to be the birthplace of the Pina Colada. The Barrachina Restaurant is located in a 200 year old colonial building in the old city with a magnificent interior courtyard bursting with water features and tropical foliage.
- Set on a secluded peninsula with 17 acres of lush foliage, the Caribe Hilton Resort is situated between historic Old San Juan and the culturally rich Condado area of San Juan. Also claiming to have birthed the cocktail, the classic Pina Colada is always on the menu together with a newer, more healthy version, which replaces the cream with coconut water
- The Doubletree Hotel in San Juan mixes an ocean-inspired version called the Blue Colada. In addition to the classic ingredients they add a shot of Blue Curacao, which turns the cocktail a beautiful azure blue.
- Senor Paleta, a paleteria in Old Juan specializing in frozen fruit popsicles, is easiest to locate on hot days due to the ques that line its sidewalk. The establishment has created a Pina Colada Popsicle that blends fresh pineapple with coconut cream in white and yellow tones.
- Probably the most famous cocktail in the west of Puerto Rica, the Coco Pirata invented by the Villa Cofresi Hotel on Rincon Beach, serves a whoppingly strong version of the colada, including four types of rum, coconut water, evaporated milk and a dash of cinnamon, all served in a fresh coconut.
- And finally we end with dessert – Dessert Colada to be precise – which is served next to the rooftop pool of the AC Marriott in San Juan. This sweat treat features a layer of pineapple compote underneath a spongy vanilla cake topped with coconut moose.
And if you happen to be reading this from the comfort of your home rather than from a Puerto Rican poolside lounger, here is a quick and easy three ingredient take on the classic cocktail to create in your own kitchen:
The three ingredient, three minute Pina Colada
- A bag of frozen chopped pineapple
- White rum
- Coconut milk
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. If too thick, add in a little extra coconut milk.
- Pour into a cocktail glass, garnish with your choice of maraschino cherries, paper umbrellas, decorative straws and a slice of fresh pineapple.