Pina Colada Recipe - A Mixologist’s Guide to this Fruity Rum Cocktail

 Not many cocktails can claim to have had a hit song written about them, but the Pina Colada is a member of this coveted group. As Rupert Holmes’ 1979 hit goes: “If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain.” Here at Hawke & Hanley we're massive fans of the famous tropical cocktail (not so much of getting caught in the rain) so here is a classic Pina Colada recipe that we hope will satisfy your appetite as much as it does ours.

Pina Colada Ingredients

This delightfully tropical cocktail consists of just four ingredients:

  • 2 oz White Rum

White rum is typically used, providing a smooth, subtle base. You can substitute it for dark or spiced rum though if you want a more unique flavor.

  • 2 oz Coconut Cream

This gives the Pina Colada its creamy texture and rich coconut flavor. I’m pretty militant when it comes to cutting out unnecessary sweetness in my cocktails so I always go for full fat, unsweetened coconut cream which ensures that creaminess without any sickly sweet aftertaste.

  • 3 oz Pineapple Juice

Fresh is best, offering a natural fruity sweetness and tang.

  • Ice

Crucial for that chilled, refreshing feel. Crushed ice is a must here because cubed ice doesn’t blend well. You want a smooth consistency to your Pina Colada so stick with crushed ice unless you have a really powerful blender.

two Pina Colada cocktails side by side on a table, with pineapple and cherry garnishes

How to Make a Pina Colada

 As a blended cocktail Pina Coladas are pretty straightforward to make. There’s no shaking necessary and no fancy mixology techniques, so it’s a very friendly recipe for beginner cocktail crafters.

Here at the steps:

  • Combine the Ingredients: Combine 2 oz of white rum, 2 oz of coconut cream, and 3 oz of fresh pineapple juice in a blender.
  • Add Ice: Toss in a cup of crushed ice
  • Blend It Up: Blend your Pina Colada until smooth.  It’s better to blend in bursts rather than continuously. This helps to achieve a smoother, more homogenized mixture without overworking the blender and melting the ice too quickly.
  • Garnish and Serve: Pour into a chilled glass, garnish with a pineapple wedge or cherry, and enjoy!

Remember, the balance of flavors is crucial. Too much rum can overpower the delicate coconut and pineapple notes.

Mixology Tip: Batch Make Your Pina Coladas

Up the volume of all the ingredients but keep the same ratios to make several portions at once. The only limit is the volume of your blender. This might seem obvious but sometimes in life, the simplest “hacks” are the ones staring us right in the face. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a new bartender make several of the same drink, one after the other.

Pina Coladas make a great party punch. You can batch make it and keep it in the fridge (or freezer) for later. That way you can focus on entertaining and enjoying yourself rather than making drinks all night.

Variations of Pina Colada

When it comes to mixing up cocktails there is always room for creativity. Here are some variations on the classic Pina Colada recipe:

  • Strawberry Pina Colada: Add fresh strawberries for a fruity twist.
  • Pina Colada On the Rocks: Instead of blending, shake the ingredients and serve over ice.
  • Spiced Rum Pina Colada: Change your choice of rum for a warm, exotic and spicy kick.

Other Cocktails Similar to a Pina Colada

If you love Pina Coladas, you might also enjoy these other fruity rum concoctions:

  • Mai Tai: A rum-based cocktail with a hint of almond and lime.
  • Bahama Mama: Combines rum, coconut, and orange flavors for a tropical treat.
  • Daiquiri: Another rum classic, simple yet refreshing with lime and sugar.

These cocktails all share the tropical, fruity profile that makes the Pina Colada so beloved. They also have a lot of overlap in terms of ingredients, and they go so well together that I’d recommend you try making several at the same time.

Pina Colada cocktail on a tray, with a jigger next to it and half a cut pineapple

Bar Accessories Needed to Make a Pina Colada

To craft the perfect Pina Colada, you'll need some basic bar accessories:

  • Blender: Essential for achieving that smooth, creamy texture.
  • Measuring Jigger: Don’t overdo it on the rum. It can be tempting to try and wing it with your measurements but trust me - too much of a good thing will mess up the flavor balance of your Pina Colada.
  • Liquor pourers: For a fast, professional pour without any spillage (Wasting a single drop of good rum should be a crime!)
  • Glasses: A hurricane glass is traditional, but any large glass will do.
  • Optional extra: Mini umbrellas for a cute, vacation vibe.

You can find all of the cocktail making accessories you need as part of our mixology set.

Wrapping it Up

The Pina Colada may be the national drink of Puerto Rico, the tropical island renowned as a pristine vacation destination. It has my vote, though, as the “International Drink of Tropical Vibes”. No matter what clime you find yourself in - in the depths of winter or the height of summer come back to this Pina Colada recipe, dust off your blender and whip up a glass of fruity tropical goodness.

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