July 10th marks Pina Colada Day! The Pina Colada is the perfect blend of pineapple, coconut cream, rum and ice! I have to admit that a virgin Pina Colada (without the rum) is pretty delicious as well. Thanks to some medical issues and crazy antibiotics, I was forced to drink virgin drinks on a recent vacation. The virgin Pina Colada was the best of the bunch. Given the heatwave sweeping America, a Pina Colada would be the perfect way to keep the whole family cool and refreshed with virgin Pina Coladas for the kiddies and Pina Coladas with kick from the parents.
According to legend, the Pina Colada was born at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar under the tutelage of head barman, Ramon “Manchito” Marrero. Mr. Marrero spent three months perfecting his libation and started serving it on August 15, 1954. By 1978, Puerto Rico declared the Pina Colada the official drink of Puerto Rico and Coco Lopez honored Mr. Marrero for selling the 3 millionth Pina Colada.
However, given that this is drinking lore, the origin of the Pina Colada can’t remain uncontested. Some claim that it was pioneered by Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresi in the 1800’s. Others claim that it was another Caribe Hilton barmen, Ricardo Gracia, or the Barrachina Restaurant, which also claims ownership of its invention. Like most drinks, it’s provenance is unclear, which is no way detracts from its deliciousness.
Since the Pina Colada was birthed more than fifty years ago, there have been a number of riffs on the drink. The Pinata is made with tequila, the Chi Chi with vodka, and the Pina Martinique with rum. My personal favorite variation is the Lava Flow, which hails from the Hawaiian Islands. The Lava Flow is essentially a Pina Colada flavored with strawberry, raspberry, mango or whatever fruit puree you can concoct. It’s amazing! For an unusual twist, try the Pina Perfection Margarita, which uses rosemary instead of coconut Interesting!
Happy Pina Colada Day!