Behind the Bar: History of the Piña Colada

Every month, we feature Craig Green, Manager of Culinary Services, in an article where he shares tips, recipes, fun cocktails and great information on all the latest bar trends or happenings at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

Even if you claim not to like sweet drinks, who can resist a fresh piña colada on the beach in Puerto Rico? Did you know that the first piña colada was said to be invented in Puerto Rico? Since Puerto Rico has the perfect climate and ability to grow fresh pineapples and coconuts, I have no reason to doubt this claim. Plus, Puerto Rico is home to BACARDI, so with such an abundance of rum, something had to be done, right?

But where did the piña colada get its start?

The first time the piña colada was ever heard of was in the 19th century. Legend has it that a Puerto Rican pirate named Roberto Cofresi would give his crewmembers a mix of rum, coconut and pineapple as a reward for – ahem – being good pirates and for getting along well with other crewmen aboard the ships.

No one really knows for sure who the mix master was that created the piña colada, but what I do know consists of two things:

A great-tasting piña colada absolutely needs a great-tasting rum – like Pusser’s Rum – and a great-tasting piña colada mix.

To be honest, I’ve never been one to bell up to a bar in Dallas and request a piña colada, but when I travel to a beach in the Caribbean or when I take a trip to the bar at Cheddar’s, it’s my first request. However, if you want to have yourself a delicious piña colada at home, give some of these recipes a try:

Miami Vice

  • 5 oz. BACARDI 151 rum
  • 1 package of frozen piña colada mix
  • 1 package of frozen strawberry daiquiri mix
  • Ice

Blend the piña colada mix with 2.5 oz. of the rum and ice. Set aside. Blend the strawberry daiquiri mix with 2.5 oz. of the rum and ice. While still frozen, pour the piña colada mixture into a cocktail glass. Pour the strawberry daiquiri mixture on top. Make sure to keep the strawberry daiquiri mixture separated from the piña colada mix.

Piña Colada Sangria

  • 2 – 750 ml bottles of moscato (I used Barefoot)
  • 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut rum (I used Malibu)

Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.

Piña Colada-Tini

  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. coconut rum
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. cream of coconut
  • ½ oz. blue curaçao

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Combine rums, pineapple juice and cream of coconut in cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glass. Slowly drizzle the blue curaçao down the side of the glass. Serve.

If you have no vacation plans in the near future and the idea of a refreshing piña colada has gotten your mouth watering, get to your local Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, where you can enjoy one on the rocks or frozen year round.

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