As Rupert Holmes will proclaim, there are few drinks as transportive as a piña colada. The vacation-friendly drink mixes rum, coconut, and pineapple in a recipe dating back to the 1950s, when it was created by Ramón "Monchito" Marrero at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
But not all of us have access to a staff of bar backs who can slice all that pineapple and scoop out fresh coconut meat. If you’re craving a piña colada without so much work, a premade mix can serve as an easy solution. Not all mixes are the same, though. There are fancy piña colada mixes for making craft cocktails and large-format jugs for pouring into a commercial-level blender. There are even piña colada smoothies and single-serve cans for a fun, portable take on the classic resort-favorite drink.
We searched through all the options out there and picked out our favorites for lots of different situations. Here are the best piña colada mixes—drink umbrellas optional.
Coco López Piña Colada Mix
The piña colada cocktail was invented in Puerto Rico, so it stands to reason that the best piña colada mix on the market also hails from the island. Coco López—a brand beloved for its rich and flavorful cream of coconut, coconut milk, and coconut water—offers a mix with a luxuriously creamy texture, bold coconut and bright pineapple flavors, and a pleasant level of sweetness.
All you need to do with one of these shelf-stable cans is pull off the top, and then add rum and ice. You can enjoy the drink on the rocks, or throw everything in a blender for the classic slushy version. (Each 12-ounce can makes about four cocktails.) This mix’s texture and sweetness also work beautifully in baking recipes, so if you need to add pineapple and coconut flavors to a cake or cookie batter, Coco López Piña Colada Mix has you covered.
Price at time of publish: $26 for 4 (12-ounce) cans
Cutwater Spirits Bali Hai Piña Colada
Sometimes, piña colada mix doesn't actually need any mixing. These cans from San Diego maker Cutwater Spirits include rum and coconut cream liqueur, plus all the non-alcoholic ingredients required for a complete cocktail. Cutwater's Bali Hai Piña Colada delivers creamy flavors with a light texture, which makes it perfect for day-drinking at a picnic. Notes of vanilla come through clearly, as do the more expected pineapple and coconut flavors. The drink comes in at 13 percent alcohol, with a balanced punch you can enjoy straight from the can or poured over ice, and it’s sure to pair with any number of picnic snacks and entrees.
Price at time of publish: $14 for 4 (12-ounce) cans
Mary’s Mixers Piña Colada Mix
Mary’s Mixers started off in 2018 as a bottled bloody Mary mix from Greg Dorros, a bartender with more than 30 years of experience slinging drinks all over the world. The brand has since expanded into a line of eight different hand-crafted mixers, each in liter bottles so you can whip up lots of drinks in very little time. The piña colada is fruit-forward without being cloying, good for tossing in the blender with ice or just mixing and pouring into a glass. All you have to do is add one part rum to three parts mixer—the bottle is good for about 8 servings. (You could also use vodka, tequila, or even whiskey if you're feeling experimental.) No matter how you do it, the clean and natural flavors of Mary’s will shine through.
Price at time of publish: $20 for 1 liter
Best for Mocktails
Monin Piña Colada Smoothie Mix
Monin is perhaps best known for its array of gourmet flavored syrups used in coffee shops around the world, but this mix is specially designed for blending. You can throw some mix and some ice into your blender for a non-alcoholic smoothie or add as much rum as you like for a hard slushy drink. This option makes one of the creamiest pre-batched piña coladas available, blending equal parts pineapple and coconut juice. It's dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher with no artificial sweeteners or flavors. For a fun and delicious alternative, we'd also recommend blending this mix with fresh bananas.
Price at time of publish: $18 for 46 ounces
Torani Piña Colada Real Smoothie Mix
With more than 100 different syrups and mixes, San Francisco brand Torani is an expert at flavor. Its piña colada mix is loaded with real fruit and designed for blending. This half-gallon jug contains a mixture of coconut and pineapple puree, enough for 16 sizable servings—AKA a whole party. The mix is more pineapple-heavy than many other brands, making a bright cocktail perfect for a sweltering summer day. Whether you're bringing it to the pool, the beach, or just your backyard, you'll be ready to blend drinks for a crowd.
Price at time of publish: $28 for 64 ounces
Best on the Rocks
Casamigos Casa Colada Cocktail Mix
You probably know Casamigos as the tequila brand co-founded by George Clooney, but the company also makes a solid piña colada mix. It's brimming with classic coconut, pineapple, and lime flavors, but there's also a sprinkle of cinnamon for a spicy undertone that perfectly complements the fruit flavors and fruity zing. While many piña colada mixes are designed with the blender in mind, this one is intended for a simple shake (or stir) with booze and ice.
You can of course use the traditional rum with this stuff, but the more adventurous drinkers will want to take Casamigos' advice and try blanco or reposado tequila. The agave spirit adds some spice and minerality that blends especially well with this mix's cinnamon notes. Depending on how strong you like them, the 750-milliliter bottle can make up to a dozen drinks.
Price at time of publish: $22 for 750 milliliters
Lt. Blender's Piña Colada in a Bag
Created by a real-life Army lieutenant known for his delicious blended drinks (served only while off-duty, of course!), this clever mix makes slushy piña coladas without a blender. The bag is filled with powdered freeze-dried ingredients, and the directions couldn't be easier: You add warm water to the warm-water line printed on the front of the bag, then fill with rum to the rum line. Toss it in the freezer and you'll have a half-gallon of perfectly slushy cocktails ready to go whenever. (Kept frozen, it's good for three months after mixing.)
You can also use wine for a lower-alcohol piña colada cooler, using the fill lines printed on the other side of the bag. You can even use extra water or juice in place of the booze for a non-alcoholic frozen drink—it'll freeze more solid without alcohol, but it just needs to thaw for a few minutes to get the right slushy texture.
Price at time of publish: $14 for 12 ounces (makes 21 servings)
Mr. & Mrs. T Piña Colada Mix
In existence since 1960, Mr. & Mrs. T is perhaps the oldest name in cocktail mixes, and one you'll find at bars and restaurants everywhere. Its piña colada mix captures the classic combo of pineapple and coconut with a creamy texture, without having to break the bank. This stuff isn't artisanal or organic—it's made with artificial colors and flavors—but it's probably the taste you remember if you had your first piña colada at a beach dive on vacation. The price below is for a full 6-liter case, enough for more than 50 cocktails.
Price at time of publish: $27 for 6 (1-liter) bottles
For the sweet, creamy classic you'd expect at a beach resort—but made from real pineapple juice and coconut—we recommend Coco López Piña Colada Mix. If you want an more upscale version of the piña colada, pick up a bottle of unexpectedly complex Casamigos Casa Colada Cocktail Mix, which works with rum, tequila, or really any spirit.
What to Look for When Buying Piña Colada Mix
The piña colada has just three basic ingredients: rum, coconut, and pineapple. Most mixes don't include the alcohol, so it's the acidic fruitiness of pineapple and the rich creaminess of pineapple that they need to capture. Many also include sweeteners, lime juice, or spices to formulate their own unique flavor. Some mixes add preservatives to be shelf-stable, and you might also find stabilizers and gums to help with creamy texture. Cheaper versions might even eschew real pineapple and coconut altogether in favor of artificial flavorings. It's always a good idea to check the label before you buy, especially if you're trying to avoid specific ingredients or allergens. In general, a shorter list of ingredients should mean fresher flavor, but every brand is a little bit different.
If you are planning on having a drink or two yourself with one other person, single-serving cans or smaller bottles work well. For multiple people, grab a larger bottle to mix up a big batch in the blender. Keep in mind, however, that some brands are more concentrated than others: A single drink might call for 4 ounces of mix, or it might only need an ounce or two. It makes the most sense to think of the size in terms of number of servings the mix can make rather than the number of ounces in the bottle.
Most piña colada mixes are shelf-stable before opening and can last for months or years at room temperature. But after you open the package, you should re-seal it and store the remaining mix in the refrigerator. It might be good in the fridge for just a few days or up to a few months; read your brand's label for the rules. Many mixes for frozen piña coladas can even live in the freezer so they're always slushy and ready to go; check the label for how long they can stay frozen. No matter what the directions say, if your mix gets moldy, changes color dramatically, or starts to smell bad, you should throw it out to be safe.
How do you make a piña colada with piña colada mix?
It's pretty simple: You add rum and ice, in whatever ratio of mix to rum to ice your brand recommends. Don't forget the garnish, either! Lime wedges, orange slices, and cocktail cherries are all traditional choices, and a cocktail umbrella never hurts to add some tropical atmosphere. Once you've got the basics down, you can start tweaking the recipe; maybe you'd like a little extra acidity with a splash of fresh lime juice, or a little less mix for a drink that's not quite so thick and creamy. You can also use aged rum in place of white, or different spirits like vodka or tequila. You can try wine in place of rum, too—a dry white will work best—or you can make a non-alcoholic piña colada by adding juice or water in place of booze.
How do you make frozen piña coladas with piña colada mix?
Just grab a blender and follow the package directions. Measure out mix, rum, and the recommended amount of ice, then blend until it's your preferred chunky or smooth consistency. Blending creates heat, though, so don't run the machine too long or you'll melt the ice and just get a heavily diluted drink. If the directions don't specify how much ice to use for a frozen piña colada, use about 2 cups per cocktail.
What's the best rum for a piña colada?
That depends on your taste. The original recipe from the Caribe Hilton calls for Bacardi Gold, a lightly aged rum with lots of sweetness and caramel notes to match the sugary drink. Many bartenders use unaged white rum for its smooth, easy-drinking character. One popular option is to mix white rum into the piña colada and then top with a splash of more flavorful dark rum for a nice color contrast as well as an extra punch. This is probably not the cocktail for an expensive heavily aged rum, as its complexity will be lost behind the pineapple and coconut. You can also use other spirits in the drink—lighter-flavored choices like vodka or blanco tequila are great options.
Can you drink piña colada mixes by themselves?
Absolutely! But most mixes are pretty thick and concentrated since they're meant to be combined with rum and ice. If you want a virgin piña colada, add some ice and give it a stir to lighten the texture a little. If it's still too thick, add a little water or lime juice, and if it's too thin, add some more mix. For a nonalcoholic frozen piña colada, add extra ice plus water or juice to the blender—it'll take a little experimentation to perfect the texture, but it'll be delicious experimentation.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Kate Dingwall is a sommelier and spirits writer. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years and has her BarSmarts and WSET certification.
Taylor Tobin, who updated this article, is a wine and beverage journalist with bylines in publications like Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, Eater, and Wine4Food. An avid fan of blended cocktails, she takes a special trip to Rockaway Beach, New York, every year to enjoy her favorite piña colada at Connolly’s Bar, and the high quality of this particular rendition makes her firmly believe that piña coladas deserve to be taken seriously in the beverage arena.
The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn further updated this article. With more than 15 years of experience writing about cocktails, he's had more than his fair share of piña coladas. In fact, there are cream of coconut in his fridge, cans of pineapple juice in his cabinet, and several varieties of rum on his liquor shelf right now.
Food and Drug Administration. Gluten-free labeling of foods.