Recipes: The Piña Colada Is Still The Perfect Escape | Wine Enthusiast
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The Piña Colada Is Still The Perfect Escape

Do you happen to like piña coladas? Or do you prefer getting caught in the rain? Personally, we prefer the former. If you saw the headline for this recipe and immediately started humming lyrics to the piña colada’s unofficial anthem, Escape, you probably aren’t alone. (If you didn’t and now are, we’re sorry.) After all, it’s been in the zeitgeist since 1979, when it was first released by singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes. 

But this boozy, frozen and refreshing sipper was a sensation long before Escape hit radio waves. Here’s the history of the piña colada, plus how to make it right.  

Where Did the Piña Colada Come From?  

There are possibly as many variations to the piña colada’s origin story as there are tweaks of this rum-centric sipper. But according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, “the piña colada was created in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar,” in the 1950s or 1960s. 

However, variations of the drink existed before then. For instance, according to The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, “the piña colada was a traditional Cuban drink—strained, sweetened pineapple juice, sometimes with coconut water.” And in the 1930s, there were stands throughout the U.S. that sold nonalcoholic versions of the piña colada. But in the later part of the 1960s, the alcoholic version we know today became the go-to. 

But who created this iconic drink? In one version of the story, the drink was created by Ramon Marrero “Monchito” Perez on August 15, 1954. According to legend he spent three months developing a drink that encapsulated the “sunny and tropical” flavors of Puerto Rico. Others say bartender Ramon Porta Mingot developed the recipe at the Barrachina restaurant in San Juan. However, when looking back at recipes and tourism ads, Caribe Hilton advertised the piña colada first and Perez is typically credited as the creator.  

Either way, the drink became increasingly popular through the 60s and 70s, becoming the national drink of Puerto Rico in 1978. A year later, Holmes dropped the hit song that would forever be in piña colada lover’s hearts—and stuck in their heads.  

How to Make the Piña Colada  

Recipe by Jacy Topps 


1 ounce white rum
½ ounce dark rum
½ ounce coconut-flavored rum (preferably Malibu rum)
1 ounce cream of coconut
3 ounces pineapple juice
Pineapple slice, for garnish
Cherry, for garnish


Add a scoop of ice to a blender. Add white rum, dark rum, coconut rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice to blender. Blend until smooth, about 25 seconds. Pour the drink into a tall glass and garnish with pineapple slice and cherry.


What Is in a Piña Colada? 

The classic piña colada has white rum, dark rum, coconut-flavored rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice.  

Where Did the Piña Colada Come From? 

The piña colada came from Puerto Rico. Most experts say it was created at Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan.  

What Alcohol Is in a Piña Colada? 

In a classic piña colada, there’s white rum, dark rum and coconut-flavored rum.  

Can You Make a Virgin Piña Colada? 

Yes, you can make a virgin piña colada (a.k.a. a nonalcoholic piña colada). Simply omit rum from the recipe. 

What Are Other Versions of the Piña Colada? 

There are plenty of piña colada twists to explore.  

For instance, try this one, which adds some Cava for some sparkly flair. Or if you are looking for something a bit more on savory side, try the Chartreuse Colada Recipe, which utilizes Green Chartreuse.  

There’s also this recipe that incorporates RumChata. The liqueur’s rum, cream and cinnamon notes “only enhance the piña colada’s components,” writes Rachel Tepper Paley for Wine Enthusiast.  

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