Few drinks say “tropical” like a cold, creamy piña colada topped with a pineapple wedge and cherry.
On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, I stayed at the very resort where the piña colada was invented: the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. Just a few miles from Old San Juan and boasting its own beach, the Caribe Hilton opened in 1949 as the first modern hotel in Puerto Rico and the first international Hilton property. Over the years, it’s been host to all sorts of celebrities as well as regular people like me.
Since piña coladas are my favorite summertime frozen cocktail, I imbibed in the drink numerous times during my three-night stay at the Hilton. Better yet, I had hotel bartender David Vazquez demonstrate how to make one so that I could share it with AAA members.
Piña Colada creator, Ramon “Monchito” Marrero; Photo courtesy of Caribe Hilton
The cocktail had its origins back in 1954, when Caribe Hilton bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marrero experimented with different combinations of tropical fruit juices to create a concoction that he felt best represented Puerto Rico, blending rum, pineapple and coconut cream. The Puerto Rican government apparently agrees because in 1978 the piña colada was named the official drink of Puerto Rico.
Today at the Caribe Hilton, the standard piña colada is made from one-and-a-half ounces of white rum (the Hilton uses local rum Don Q Gold), two ounces of coconut cream and two ounces of pineapple juice blended with crushed ice, topped with a fresh pineapple wedge and a marischino cherry. You can also request a sparkling piña colada or one made with Monchito’s original recipe.
Watch AAA’s video for a demonstration of making today’s piña colada recipe, or make yourself the original (higher-calorie version) using Monchito’s own recipe below.
THE ORIGINAL PIÑA COLADA
Courtesy of Caribe Hilton
- 2 oz. white rum
- 1 oz. heavy cream
- ½ cup crushed ice
- 1 oz. coconut cream
- 6 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- Mix rum, coconut cream, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender.
- Add crushed ice, and blend 15 seconds until smooth.
- Serve in a 12-ounce glass, and garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and cherry.
Enjoy the perfect taste of Puerto Rico!