Sake Gumi

It's still winter in Brooklyn, and it's colder than ever. Last I checked 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.
Column: Happy Hour


  • Yoko, thanks a lot, as I’m happy that you like the posts, and I’m very eager as well.

    Paystyle on

  • So excited that Happy Hour is going to be on every Thursday!

    yoko on

  • I think the degree symbol is option+K on a mac. is it the same on the PC?

    Anonymous on

  • Great pina colada recipe, and the fact that you served it in a pineapple is so clever.

    Vanessa Bahmani on

  • David, thank you for the comment, as it was very well stated. Your comment reminds me of how much more I could of waxed about this drink. You’re absolutely right about the benefit of spiced rum.

    Anyone who’s never tried a Pina Colada w/o aged rum, I urge them to absolutely do so. It goes beyond mere indulgence, as it gives a depth and different mouth-feel to the cocktail.

    I like using Old Gold Special Reserve, Appleton Estate V/X, or if you wanna go bang for the buck, Ron Abuelo Anejo. If I didn’t have a finite and ever-shrinking supply of Havana Club 7 yrs aged I’d have the audacity to mix that in it, lol.


    Paystyle on

  • So glad to read this… The p.c. is a completely misunderstood drink, perhaps because it is too often confined to the likes of corn syrup mixes, and an imaginary culture that accompanies them. A good pina will come forward with a complexity of subtle flavors, depending on the ingredients used. Spiced rum will bring out an almost choclatey or coffee-like quality, and fresh coconut can bring out earthiness and grassiness. Now if you’ll excuse me I am going to dig out the Osterizer, shivering in back of my cupboard lo these many months…

    david on

  • There’s no option key on a PC. Tried ctrl, fn, and alt, and no go.

    Paystyle on

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