National pina colada day
July 10th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Do you like piña coladas? Or would you rather be caught in the rain? If you do, celebrate National Piña Colada Day, put the pineapple and rum in the coconut, and drink it all up.

The pineapple, coconut and rum concoction is wildly popular in Puerto Rico and wherever there’s hot sun, cold ice, and a Caribbean breeze.  Tracking down who invented a particular cocktail can be tricky, since everyone involved was drinking at the time. Depending on who you ask, the piña colada was invented in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1963 by Ramón Portas Mingot, in 1954 by Ramón Marrero or Ricardo Gracia, or in Cuba in 1950.

Variations on the recipe abound as well, but generally if you blend cream of coconut, light rum and pineapple juice together with ice, you’ve got a piña colada. Ironically, “piña colada” means “strained pineapple [juice]”, with no mention of the coconut component, and most piña coladas are blended rather than shaken and strained these days.

A crucial note on the coconut part: It can take many forms, so it’s to your advantage to make sure you get the right one, or else risk winding up with an overly watery or bland drink. Coconut water (aka “coconut juice”) is the clear, nutty-tasting liquid inside a young coconut. It’s reputed to be something of a super drink, loaded with potassium. Coconut milk is made by cooking or steeping equal parts grated coconut meat and water, and is often used in Thai curries and other tropical cuisines. Coconut cream is a much thicker version of coconut milk, made by cooking the coconut flesh with water at a 4:1 ratio, or by letting the cream rise to the top of coconut milk.

You definitely don’t want creamed coconut, which is dehydrated unsweetened coconut meat ground into a paste. And to confuse you even more, cream of coconut is coconut cream processed with sugar. Here’s the takeaway: if you’re making a piña colada, you want cream of coconut – Coco López is the original brand to hit the market in 1954, but Coco Reál and Costamar are often easy to find as well.

Try a basic piña colada recipe using equal parts of the three main ingredients, but of course you can change up the recipe in lots of interesting ways. Cocktail blogger Matt “RumDood” Robold and bartender Marcos Tello vary the proportions and add a bit of lime juice, blogger Anita Crotty of Married…With Dinner skips the cream of coconut in favor of coconut sorbet, and at the Pegu Blog, Doug Winship uses spiced rum and adds Cointreau. Blair Reynolds goes full-on tiki with the Bimbolada, using Mount Gay XO rum and passion fruit syrup, while celebrity cocktailian Rachel Maddow eschews canned cream of coconut and rolls her own using coconut milk and orgeat syrup.

However you take it, for best results you’re going to want a palm tree over your head and sand between your toes. Grab your lovely someone, and make your escape!

This was originally published in 2012, but decided to go (coco)nuts and share it again.

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Filed under: Breakfast Buffet • Food Holidays • News • Sip

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Private personal training Long Island

    I celebrate National Piña Colada Day, I put the pineapple and rum in the coconut, and drink it all up. Great Day! Fun Making them.

    January 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  2. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    If you like peni$ a-lotta, gettin' caught in the rain.....

    July 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I know I shouldn't, but I just laughed like a 12-year-old at my desk.

      July 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  3. dragonwife1

    Thinking ahead to winter and tasty hot drinks: apple cider combined with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, thinly sliced oranges, and a liberal dose of butterscotch schnapps, simmered in a crock pot for a couple of hours = very tasty spiced cider! You can also make a non-alcoholic version (for a kids' party, for example) by eliminating the schnapps and adding butterscotch flavoring to taste.

    July 11, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  4. Steve C.

    The next freaky article will be about the amazing Margarita. Can't wait! But let me tell you in advance....

    1.5 Teq
    0.75 Triple Sec
    1.5 Lime Juice

    Dump this in a shaker with ice (cold ice)....duh...and then shake gently about 4 times and then pour into a jug that is rimmed with bartender's salt.

    Want to spice it up a little....add some yogurt and strawberries or your favorite fruit and put the stuff in a blender and blend till smooth. Then add the booze. Best if you use strawberry yogurt and fresh strawberries or some bananas...or you can add peach yogurt and brighten up your day!

    Oh gee! Want another nice drink. Take a can of "fruit cocktail" out or the fridge and add some of that with sugar to taste to the ice with the lime and blend. Then add the tequila and triple sec.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Chef Sun

      Triple Sec is the poor man's Cointreau. Avoid the cheap stuff if possible.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      As it happens, our margarita game is tight:

      July 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  5. Kandi

    Tell me more! Oh gee! A drink?

    Get a life people.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • JellyBean@Kandi

      I see you are the life of the party. Lighten the he ll up.

      July 11, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • mike k.

      back to church with you

      July 11, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  6. Bran

    Please! Who invented the piña colada I'm confused now! What Makes this recipes difFerent? I believe in Cuba they didn't add cocunut and the puerto Rico version was added. ??? Yes? Or no?

    July 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  7. Carla Vazq

    "in Puerto Rico and wherever there’s hot sun, cold ice, and a Caribbean breeze"

    Yes, cold ice is much better than "hot ice" or dry ice or warm ice.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  8. Mark L

    YUMMY!! This is my favorite drink, i have been known to order it in January in NYC

    July 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Carla Vazq

      Oh Mark! Tell us you didn't.

      I've been know to order a beer in the winter. Oh and summer...oh and in the spring...duh...

      July 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  9. 1st!

    : )

    July 10, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Bob

      Biggest tool : )

      July 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • Yoda@Bob

        Big tool I have, yes.

        July 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
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