Shake up a flavorful pina colada twist and rediscover the tropical cocktail

Pina colada at Vanderbilt, photo provided by Discover Puerto Rico
Pina colada at Vanderbilt, photo provided by Discover Puerto Rico /

With a little umbrella perched on the glass’ edge and a fruit garnish, the hurricane style vessel holds a frozen delight. Although it does not guarantee a gentle Puerto Rican breeze offering an afternoon respite, that tropical cocktail can almost feel like an escape. With a flavorful pina colada twist, the frozen favorite cocktail can have a whole new outlook.

Many popular cocktails are steeped in a great origination story. While some people might have had their first sip on vacation, Puerto Rico has been shaking up this simple concoction for decades.

The Caribe Hilton Hotel and its mixologist Ramón “Monchito” Marrero Perez are credited with this now infamous beverage. While its original form did not contain rum, it evolved into a spirted sip.

Although not the Hilton’s cocktail recipe, Discover Puerto Rico has shared their version. Able to be served with or without rum, it is a classic version that showcases the nuanced flavors.

pina colada twist
Pina colada at Vanderbilt, photo provided by Discover Puerto Rico /

Discover Puerto Rico’s Classic Colada Recipe:


  • ½ cup of coconut cream
  • ½ cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 cup of ice
  • ¼ cup white rum
  • Cherries, pineapple wedges, whipped cream for topping


  • In a blender, mix the coconut cream, pineapple juice, ice and rum until all the ingredients are blended smoothly
  • Pour the drink into a glass and top with whipped cream
  • Use the cherries and pineapples as garnish

Over the years, many mixologists have offered their creative takes on the pineapple and coconut cream combination. From changing the liquor to adding additional ingredients, there are many options. Still, a flavorful pina colada twist is easy for anyone to create.

For example, coconut cream can stand up to bold, especially spicy flavors. Although the bolder flavor should not overwhelm the sweet, lusciousness that is expected, a little lingering heat can lead the drinker back for another sip.

Ginger Pina Colada pina colada twist
Giner Pina Colada, photo provide by Sailor Jerry /

Here’s a lovely example from Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. The combination the spiced rum and the ginger syrup adds a satisfying warmth to that refreshing cocktail.

Ginger Piña Colada


  • 1 ½ parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 1 part cream of coconut
  • ¼ part pineapple juice
  • ¾ homemade ginger syrup


  • Add Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and ginger syrup to an empty mixing glass. Dry shake. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into highball or tiki glass. Fill with ice and garnish with candied ginger.

When a drinker craves that pineapple flavor but wants a little lighter offering, there can be ways to shake up a flavorful pina colada twist. In this option from Buchann’s Pineapple, the combination of spice, mineral water and Buchanan’s Pineapple is delightfully refreshing on a warm day.

Buchanan’s Pineapple Piña Fizz



  • Rim highball glass with Tajín.
  • Pour Buchanan’s Pineapple into highball glass over ice and top with mineral water.
  • Garnish with a lime or pineapple wedge.

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