Puerto Rico’s Famous Piña Colada

Most of us think of tropical beaches and palm trees when we drink a piña colada, but few know where this tasty drink actually originated from. Over the years, the drink has been modernized and each country has their own way of serving piña coladas. This rum based cocktail is actually Puerto Rico’s official drink and has been since 1978. There are various stories in regard to who and how the first piña colada came into existence, but one common fact is that it originated in Puerto Rico.

One story recounts the tale of Roberto Cofresi, a pirate from Puerto Rico, who mixed a cocktail of rum, coconut and pineapple in the 1800s for his crew, but his recipe died with him in 1825. Many believe that Roberto Cofresi was the original maker of the piña colada and that after his death, others tried to duplicate his recipe. Other theories claim that Ricardo Garcia developed this drink, or Ramon Portas Mingot in 1963, or even Roman Marrero in 1954. All the theories have in common is that the drink is of Spanish descent and had its beginnings in Puerto Rico. In the twentieth century, it became a very popular drink in Cuba, as well as Key West and the West Indies.

The main ingredients have remained the same over the years, even though variants of the piña colada have now been made. The basic ingredients for a piña colada are rum, pineapple juice and cream of coconut, which is garnished with pineapple pieces and served with ice. Some have substituted the rum for vodka or blended the piña colada mixture with other drinks, such as strawberry daiquiris, or even substituted the coconut cream for evaporated milk. Some of the piña colada variants that now exist include the King Henry, Belizean Piña Colada, Miami Vice, Amaretto Colada, Caribou Lou, Staten Island Ferry, Lava Flow and the Iguana Colada.

In Puerto Rico most establishments stick to the original recipe, though there may be some slight variation from city to city. As the official drink of the country, visitors should ensure they try one of these sweet, tasty drinks to complete their Puerto Rican experience.