It's still winter in Brooklyn, and it's colder than ever. Last I checked weather.com said it was 20 degrees with a windchill that makes it feel like 4 degrees (I wish I had the degree symbol on my keyboard so didn't have to constantly type out the word "degree").
If you read my previous post, you know that I reveled in a bit anachronisticness (the Don King spellchecker said it was a real word) by posting about a cocktail that may have seemed out of season, as a way of escaping the winter doldrums. Well here I go again, and this time I'm traveling way back... to summer. Oh, and what a summer of fond memories it was, especially if you follow politics like I do. And there's no better potion to revive those summer dreams than a Piña Colada--a drink most often misunderstood as the go-to choice for those fond of mail-order brides and Jimmy Buffett.
In reality, however, the Piña Colada has earned its place among the great classics of boozedom. Its history and recipe have taken many interesting turns, with even its country of origin and the issue of who deserves the credit for its invention a source of modern controversy. I won't go into detail about its long history, as there have been others who've done the research. However anyone interested in learning more is urged to check out the short article by George Sinclair found here, a quick and interesting piece on the drink's history.
Like many cocktails with long histories that often reach as far back as the century before the previous, the Piña Colada doesn't have one definitive recipe with precise proportions, but rather a recipe that seems to be the product of an ever-evolving consensus. For example, a dry martini in the 1930s would probably seem brimming with vermouth compared to today's standards. An even better example is the Mai Tai, and how the sweetness of it has been adjusted down over time as taste trends have changed.
Of course being as old as it is, the Piña Colada didn't become a blended drink until, well, the invention of the blender. Before then the Piña Colada was made--as a few places still do to this day--shaken and served on the rocks. And it's just as well, because the Piña Colada easily lends itself to tinkering. That's why it's really easy to make a good one and really difficult to screw one up. As such, here's my recipe below, made the way I prefer it. A common recipe for one can be also be found at CocktailDB.
The Piña Colada
2 oz Aged rum (why not indulge!)
4 oz Fresh pineapple juice
1 oz Cream of coconut (or fresh coconut milk if available)
1 cup Crushed ice
Combine everything but the ice in a blender and turn blender on the highest setting. Meanwhile incorporate the ice and blend until smooth. Since we're using fresh juice here, the drink may not be sweet enough for some, and if so, simply blend in some sugar until it's to your liking. For added flair, serve in a carved out pineapple and garnish with a couple of pineapple spears. Now you can stroll out onto the deck with pride, with your Piña Colada in one hand and a middle finger up with your other hand to all those who'd dare hate.
Come back every Wednesday for Paystyle's weekly Happy Hour column.