Fruity and cold, tiki drinks are the perfect summer quaff. And the king of all tiki drinks is the sweet, creamy, rum-based favorite, the Piña Colada.
The tiki classic has made a comeback in recent years, along with other classic cocktails, and bartenders are putting their own twists on the fruity beverage. In celebration of National Piña Colada Day (July 10), here's a quick primer on the original recipe, and our favorite version. Be warned — it provides a serious kick.
Three Puerto Rican bartenders claim ownership of the Piña Colada, which happens to be Puerto Rico’s national beverage. The most famous version of the story credits the drink to bartender Ramon "Monchito" Marrero of the Caribe Hilton back in 1954.
According to the hotel, Monchito spent three months mixing, tasting, and discarding hundreds of combinations until he got the perfect blend.
Monchito made no secret of his original recipe, and today the Caribe Hilton features it proudly on its website: "Pour 2 ounces of light rum, 1 ounce of coconut cream, 1 ounce of heavy cream, and 6 ounces of fresh pineapple into a blender. Add ice. Blend for 15 seconds. Pour into a 12-ounce glass. Add a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish."
This is a perfectly acceptable way to make a Piña Colada. Some would even say it’s the best way.
But there's a twist on the original recipe that takes the Piña Colada to the next level. Called the Rocket Fuel and invented by the bartenders of Fire Island, it's a liquored-up version made with Bacardi 151 floater and Amaretto.
The Island Mermaid, a Fire Island staple that has been around for 25 years, shared its own delicious recipe for making the island favorite, which owner Scott Hirsch warns can “sneak up on you.”
Here is the Island Mermaid’s seriously awesome take on the drink, courtesy of Hirsch:
Instead of mixing all the ingredients in the blender, we make the Piña Colada freshly with gold rum (not silver because it affects the flavor). You pour the gold rum over the ice in the blender and add the Piña Colada mix until the ice barely rises. Then blend.
Listen for the ice to disappear. Seriously, listen. It matters a little.
In the glass you are using, pour a shot of 151 rum. Then take the blended colada and pour it over the shot so it runs up through the drink. We recommend a 12-14 ounce pour. Then, gently circle the top of the drink with a floater of amaretto. The first sips are "sweet" getting you ready for the blast down below!
That's it. Garnish with a slice of pineapple. Blast off.
Whether you prefer your Piña Colada classic or with a serious kick, expect to see lots of these tiki drinks this summer.
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