Piña Colada

Pina colada recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
762 Calories
15g Fat
133g Carbs
7g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 762
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 19mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 133g 48%
Dietary Fiber 17g 62%
Protein 7g
Calcium 131mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The piña colada is a classic Puerto Rican cocktail made with pineapple juice, white rum (also called light rum), and cream of coconut.

Cream of coconut is similar to condensed milk, except that it's made with coconut milk instead of cow's milk. It's thick, syrupy, and sweet, and typically comes in a can. Note that cream of coconut is different from coconut cream, which is the fatty, creamy part of canned coconut milk that you can skim off the top. Canned coconut milk can come sweetened or unsweetened and has a milder, butterier flavor than cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is the best choice in this recipe because of its thickness and richness; Coco Casa and Coco Lopez are two popular brands. They're available in Hispanic grocery stores, at Walmart, and online.

If you can't find cream of coconut, you can use coconut cream—just be sure to add sugar or simple syrup, to taste, to compensate for the lack of sweetness. Trader Joe's sells cans of coconut cream with minimal added ingredients. However, try to avoid the coconut milk in cartons, as it tends to be a little too runny for shaken cocktails like this one.

The type of rum you use is also important. White or light rum is more neutral in flavor compared to dark rum and is largely produced in Puerto Rico. It's what's traditionally used in piña coladas as well as cocktails in general. While some piña colada recipes call for a mix of light and dark rums, this recipe stays truer to its origins, which reportedly date to the 1800s.

While piña coladas can be shaken or stirred, this shaken recipe is a more recent adaptation of the original frozen piña colada from the 1950s. You'll require a cocktail shaker, but if you don't have one, don't worry—just use a lidded Mason jar instead.

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Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pina colada
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Pour the light rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. For a slightly less sweet colada, squeeze the juice of a lime wedge into the shaker.

    Pour the light rum in shaker
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Shake well for at least 30 seconds. When thoroughly shaken, the drink should be creamy with a luscious foam from the pineapple juice.

    Shake well
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Strain into a chilled Mason jar or collins glass. Alternatively, it will fill 1 large or 2 small cocktail glasses.

    Strain into a glass
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Garnish with the pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.

    Garnish with pineapple wedge
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Serve and enjoy.

Tips

  • The piña colada is a very thick drink, even the shaken version. To lighten it up, fill the glass with crushed ice before straining the cocktail.
  • Canned pineapple juice is convenient. The small cans are 6 ounces and will make a few drinks. Unless you transfer it to another container, it can be difficult to keep large cans of pineapple juice fresh.
  • If you prefer, use fresh pineapple juice The average pineapple weighs 2 to 5 pounds, and yields about 6 ounces of juice per pound with an electric juicer. Without a juicer, crush 1 cup of pineapple chunks in the shaker using a muddler before shaking the drink. You can also blend fresh or frozen pineapple chunks and strain the resulting mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.

What Is the Best Piña Colada Mix?

While we don't have one single brand to recommend, the more expensive option is almost always better when buying cocktail mixes. Note that most piña colada mixes contain dairy, even though the original recipe does not, in case that's a concern. Regardless, because a piña colada has just three ingredients, it truly isn't worth your time or money to buy a mix. If you're understandably concerned about splurging on ingredients, you can save money by buying mini liquor bottles instead of a pricey handle of rum. While you might not get higher-shelf rums in this size, the added cost benefit can justify buying the cream of coconut and pineapple, which are likely to cost less than a mix anyway.

What Is the Best Cream of Coconut Brand?

Coco Lopez is probably the most popular cream of coconut brand, and Coco Casa and Coco Reàl are two others you'll see in major stores. All contain thickeners and preservatives such as polysorbate, which some people choose to avoid. If that's the case, you can easily make your own cream of coconut at home with just 2 to 3 ingredients like coconut milk, sugar, and coconut powder. Search online for your favorite recipe.

Recipe Variations

How Strong Is the Piña Colada?

This piña colada recipe is pretty average. It's not the lightest drink, nor is it the strongest cocktail you can make. With an 80 proof rum, the alcohol content is a reasonable 13 percent ABV (26 proof). It's similar to a glass of wine, only far more delicious.