Because rum + pineapple + coconut = summertime happiness.
Creamy, tangy and boozy, the Piña Colada is that perfect mash-up of cocktail and milkshake. And while the original is as perpetually in style as a teeny string bikini, how about mixing up one that’s topped with a float of sweet, raisin-flavored PX Sherry? Or another that infuses aged rum with peaches? Or one that skips the rum altogether in favor with flavored moonshine?
Blended or shaken, these are the drinks you’ll want to sip in the sun.
Recipe and image courtesy of Sweet Liberty
Bar manager Fraser Hamilton says at its essence, the Piña Colada is “a wonderfully simple summer drink.” In this version from Sweet Liberty, coffee beans and sweet Sherry lend earthy flavor that offsets the coconut and pineapple. “These are easy additions you can make at home,” he points out. Making a spiced rum by infusing vanilla, cinnamon, clove, anise and orange peel in a bottle of rum for about a week is another way to add flavor and complexity.
- 1 ½ oz. Sweet Liberty Rum blend (they use a blend of coconut, light, aged and spiced rums; feel free to substitute your own combo)
- 2 one-inch cubes of Pineapples
- 1 ½ oz. Pineapple juice
- 3 oz. housemade Coconut cream (a blend of Coco Lopez, cream, sugar and fresh coconut milk)
- 3 Coffee beans
- Pedro Ximénez Sherry, to float
Blend everything except the sherry with ice. Pour into a glass and top with the sherry.
Rum with Me Piña Colada
Recipe and image courtesy of Living Room Bar, W South Beach
Summer in South Beach with a frozen drink in hand? Sounds like the recipe for total bliss. The W’s Living Room Bar uses a dark rum that’s been aged for 23 years, which gives the drink a whole new dimension. It’s garnished with both pineapple and basil leaves as well as a sprinkle of earthy brown sugar.
- 2 oz. Zacapa 23 Aged Dark Rum
- 1 oz. Fresh pineapple juice
- ½ oz. Coconut cream
- ½ oz. Fresh lime juice
- 3 tsp. Granulated brown sugar
- 1 Basil leaf
- 2 Pineapple leaves
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, garnish with the basil and pineapple leaves and brown sugar, and top with a few dashes of bitters.
Recipe and image courtesy of Royal DC
“The kitchen at The Royal always inspires me, with our wood-fire grill playing a big part in both our food menu and thus, [our] cocktail program as well,” says bar manager Andrew Larsen. “In the Peachy Keen, I fire-roast fresh pineapple to give it those savory notes and hint of char, adding complexity.”
- 1 ½ oz. Peach-infused Dos Maderas Rum (see Note)
- ¾ oz. Fire-roasted pineapple syrup (see Note)
- ¾ oz. Coconut syrup (see Note)
- ½ oz. Falernum
- ½ oz. Orgeat
- Lime wheel and pineapple frond, for garnish
Add the first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, and garnish with the lime wheel and pineapple frond.
For the peach-infused Dos Maderas Rum:
Pour a 750ml bottle of rum into a container with a tightly fitting lid. Add 2 cups diced, pitted peaches. Store the bottle in a cool dark place for a day or two, shaking several times per day. Strain out solids through cheesecloth.
For the fire-roasted pineapple syrup:
Grill pineapple slices, cool, and cut into chunks. Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add 1 cup of the prepared pineapple chunks. Steep until desired flavor is dissolved, and then strain out solids.
For the coconut syrup:
Take 1 cup 1:1 simple syrup and add it to a can of coconut milk in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, remove it from the heat, and let cool. Add a pinch of salt and 2 oz. white rum. Store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.
It Takes 2 to Mango
Recipe courtesy of Royal DC
Larsen cautions against using too much ice in blended Coladas – watering them down takes away their addictively creamy flavor and consistency. He believes coconut is obviously the drink’s most important aspect; if you choose to swap out the pineapple, it’s important to add another acidic ingredient to balance the coconut. Here, pureed mango (fresh or frozen) gives a tropical tang, and lime juice adds refreshingly tart citrus.
- 1 ½ oz. Caña Brava Reserva Añeja Rum
- 1 oz. Mango puree
- 1 oz. Coconut cream
- ¾ oz. Lime juice
- Pickled mango and freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Add the first four ingredients to a blender, add ice, and process until smooth. Pour into a rocks glass, and garnish with the pickled mango and nutmeg.
Piña Colada Milkshake
Recipe and image courtesy of Sugarlands Distilling Co.
Who says the Piña Colada needs to be made with rum? Sugarlands blends natural flavors with their neutral grain spirit for balanced hooch that combines the taste of both tropical fruits. General manager Reede Copeland likes to use it in a moonshine twist on the Miami Vice. It’s also great in this frozen boozy milkshake, where coconut sorbet makes it lighter than recipes made with coconut cream.
- 1 cup Coconut sorbet
- 1 cup Vanilla frozen yogurt
- ¼ cup Pineapple juice
- 4 oz. Sugarlands Distilling Co. Piña Colada Moonshine
Combine all ingredients in a blend and process until smooth. Serve in a pineapple glass.
Recipe and image courtesy of Sugarlands Distilling Co.
This cocktail has of the flavor of a Piña Colada, but it’s served on the rocks. Curaçao gives it a shock of blue color that’s topped with the ruby tone of grenadine, and lemon lime soda adds thirst-quenching effervescence.
- 1 ½ oz. Sugarlands Distilling Co. Piña Colada Moonshine
- ½ oz. Pineapple juice
- ½ oz. Blue Curaçao
- Lemon lime soda, to top
- Grenadine, for float
- Pineapple triangle, for garnish
Add the first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and roll until chilled. Strain into a Mason jar over fresh ice, top with lemon lime soda and grenadine, and garnish with the pineapple triangle.
Recipe courtesy of Colada Shop; Image credit: Rey Lopez
Juan Coronado’s modern Piña Colada gets a big dose of bracing menthol flavor from a float of Fernet-Vallet, which has the added effect of making the drink feel and taste less rich and full. For more info on Colada Shop, check out this profile.
- 1 oz. Coconut milk
- 2 oz. Pineapple juice
- 2 oz. Coco López
- 1 ½ oz. Bacardí Carta Blanca Rum
- ¼ oz. Fernet-Vallet
- Pineapple leaf, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to a blender, add ice, and blend. Pour into a large stemless wine glass and garnish with the pineapple leaf.
Recipe and image courtesy of Bacardí Rum
Like a cross between a Banana Colada and an orange Creamsicle, this convivial cocktail lets guests serve themselves at lazy summer backyard parties. It’s also scalable depending on the size of the crowd you are expecting. To add an element of pineapple to the drink, freeze chunks or slices in an ice mold.
- 8 oz. Bacardí Banana Rum
- 4 ½ oz. Bacardí Superior Rum
- 4 oz. Coconut cream, whisked
- 5 oz. Orange juice
- 4 oz. Lemon juice
- 3 oz. Simple syrup
- Orange slices, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to a punch bowl over an ice block. To serve, ladle into glasses over ice and garnish with orange slices.
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.