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As Jimmy Buffett will proclaim, there are few drinks as transportive as a piña colada. The vacation-friendly drink mixes rum, coconut, pineapple, and lime juice in a recipe dating back more than a half-century, when it was created by Ramón "Monchito" Marrero at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico.
Unless you're in San Juan, finding fresh coconut and pineapple can be difficult. The next best thing is a premade mix that brings the tropics to you in an easy pour. Not all mixes are the same, though. There are piña colada mixes for making bartender-level craft cocktails and large-format mixes for adding to slushie machines. There are even piña colada smoothies and single-serve cans for a fun, portable take on the classic resort-favorite drink.
Here are the best piña colada mixes—drink umbrella optional.
Best Overall: Island Oasis Piña Colada Fruit Puree
If you're making a piña colada, chances are you want a breezy drink that reminds you of a warm vacation. That also means low-effort, and this mix from Island Oasis is just that. Simply blend or pour over ice with your favorite spirit and kick your feet up. For extra points, add pineapple fronds, drink umbrellas, or colorful fruit as garnish.
This beverage mix is blended from real pineapples and coconuts for an authentic flavor. It's gluten-free and made without artificial preservatives. Pick up a few of Island Oasis' premade beverage mixes—like margarita, strawberry, and mango—and host your own tropical getaway in your living room or backyard.
Best for Picnics: Zing Zang All Natural Piña Colada Mix
Zing Zang's petite cans of piña colada mix check all the boxes of a low-effort drink. Just pour the 8-ounce can over ice, add rum, and you'e set to sip. You can even combine the libation in a cocktail shaker or pop it in a blender. Each can blends all-natural flavors of coconut with fresh pineapple juice, stevia leaf extract, and pure cane sugar to replicate the refreshing flavors of a piña colada.
Zing Zang's easy cocktail mixers also come in bloody mary, strawberry daiquiri, and sweet and sour. Because they're packed into single-serving cans, they're ideal for throwing in a bag and popping open at a picnic or on a camping trip. This order comes with 24 eight-ounce cans.
Most Versatile: Monin Piña Colada Smoothie Mix
Monin is best known for making gourmet flavored syrups used in coffee shops and homes around the world. Along those lines, the brand's blender-ready fruit smoothie mix is designed to help whip up cafe-grade fruit smoothies in a snap. It's dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher with no artificial sweeteners or flavors.
This option makes one of the creamiest pre-batched piña coladas available, blending equal parts pineapple and coconut juice. Try it in boozy drink or, alternatively, a mocktail or shake. We recommend blending this mix with fresh bananas to add a hint of fresh fruit flavor.
Best Large: Kelvin Slush Co. Piña Colada Mix
Calling all slushie fans: The Kelvin brand is known for making the best mixes for commercial-grade slushie and margarita machines that also taste just as great in a home blender. With bright, sweet flavors of coconut and pineapple, use this mix to make a refreshing frozen piña colada, pain killer, or rum runner. Kelvin has full recipes for these on its website.
This mix is made with organic coconut milk and organic pineapple juice. All ingredients are vegan, gluten-free, and without GMOs. Each bottle makes 37 12-ounce frozen cocktails and is shelf-stable. Just remember to shake well before using and refrigerate after opening.
Best for Cocktail Lovers: Owl’s Brew Chai Piña Colada Mixer
Owned by a tea sommelier, Owl's Brew makes naturally flavored mixers designed specifically for cocktails. The concept is simple: Crack a bottle of Owl's Brew, add your favorite spirit, give it a shake, and you have a cocktail bar-level drink in seconds. Each 16-ounce bottle makes approximately eight drinks.
One of the best parts of each bottle is you're not tied to one drink. Each label details a range of different cocktail options, from easy spritzer recipes to straightforward piña coladas to warming hot toddies.The blends are made completely from whole tea leaves, fruits, spices, and herbs, with no extra sugar or artificial flavors added. They're low-calorie and high in vitamin C.
Best for Mocktails: Naked Pina Colada
This juice brand, a supermarket staple, is known for its pre-bottled smoothies and juices, and it has its own version of a non-alcoholic piña colada. This bottle combines pineapples, apples, bananas, creamy coconut milk, and juicy orange for a fruity, island-ready smoothie.
A big draw of this option is it's designed to be delicious without alcohol, and naturally so. There are no saccharine flavors—just fresh fruit and creamy coconut milk. It's a great option for those craving a piña colada, but want to skip the alcohol. Each drink has 310 calories and no added sugar.
For a mix made from real pineapple and coconut that will help create cocktails reminiscent of resort-ready beverages, we recommend the Island Oasis Piña Colada Fruit Puree (view at Amazon). If you're just trying to get your drink on at a campground or picnic, the Zing Zang All-Natural Piña Colada Mix cans are perfectly portable (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying Piña Colada Mixes
Rum, coconut, and pineapple are the main ingredients that make up these refreshing tropical drinks. Some mixes have additives—preservatives or sweeteners—to help make them shelf stable, and these can change up the taste, so make sure to check the labels when looking at these mixes. The taste that is enjoyed so much when in the islands is from the real pineapple juice and coconuts, so keep that in mind if you want a piña colada that is closest to the real thing.
Mixes are not all the same. There are a variety of flavors, as you will find when you're looking for the right mix for you. Try some out and select the one that reminds you the most of those tropical breezes and ocean waves.
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. An open bottle of mixer will last in the fridge for a few months but will take up space that you might need for other items.
How do you make a piña colada with a piña colada mix?
Making these refreshing drinks with a mix is a breeze. All you do is add your favorite rum, then add your own finishing touch, such as a slice of orange for a garnish, or some like to tweak it with a splash of fresh lime juice. These drinks are great if you make the mix with a light rum and and then add a shot of dark rum on the top.
How do you make frozen piña coladas with piña colada mixes?
Just grab a blender. To make a frozen piña colada: measure out the mix and rum, and add about 2 cups of ice, then blend. Stop at the consistency you prefer, whether it is chunky or smooth.
Can you drink piña colada mixes by themselves?
If you would like a nonalcoholic, aka virgin, piña colada, then yes, enjoy it as a mocktail—you can drink it straight from the bottle or can.
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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.