Who Invented the Pina Colada? Tracing its Historical past in Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico is thought for plenty of issues – tiny frogs, pristine seashores, bioluminescent bays and luxurious rainforests. It’s additionally the birthplace of the pina colada – a scrumptious cocktail consisting of rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice. 

Translating as “strained pineapple”, this tropical drink was declared Puerto Rico’s nationwide drink in 1978 and is finest drunk by the seashore or pool. You’ll discover the pina colada served at most institutions all through the island, together with seashore bars, eating places and luxurious resorts. 

A number of the finest pina coladas I’ve tried had been on the seashore, though you might wish to attempt the variations provided at Barrachina and the Caribe Hilton – two bars that declare to have invented this scrumptious drink. 

I visited each locations to attempt their pina coladas and uncover extra concerning the drink’s historical past.  

Pina Colada Elements

Pina Colada at Flamenco Beach, Culebra

Beneath are all of the substances wanted to create the pina colada, in response to the Puerto Rico tourism web site:

  • ½ a cup of coconut cream
  • ½ a cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 cup of ice
  • ¼ cup white rum
  • Cherries, pineapple wedges to garnish

Combine the coconut cream, pineapple juice, ice, and rum in a blender till the substances are absolutely blended and frosty. Pour the drink right into a glass and garnish with a cherry and pineapple wedge. 

Who Invented the Pina Colada?

Pina Colada, official drink of Puerto Rico sign at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, San Juan

Who invented the pina colada is up for debate. The Caribe Hilton claims that the cocktail was invented by Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender who labored on the resort’s Beachcomber Bar again in 1954. He was commissioned to create a signature cocktail, and apparently spent three months crafting it. When Hollywood actress Joan Crawford took a sip of it, she claimed it was “higher than slapping Bette Davis within the face.”

In the meantime Barrachina, which is positioned within the heart of Outdated san Juan, claims its bartender Ramón Portas Mignot was the one to invent this tropical drink. 

Nevertheless, there are additionally tales that recommend the pina colada might have been invented even sooner than that, all the way in which again within the 1800s. Supposedly Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí served a mixture of coconut, pineapple and white rum to spice up his crew’s morale. 

The place to Strive the Pina Colada in Puerto Rico

Caribe Hilton

Sign at the Caribe Hilton detailing the history of the pina colada

The Caribe Hilton resort is positioned on the japanese fringe of San Juan islet overlooking the water. Contained in the resort on the bottom ground you’ll discover a big pina colada wall explaining the historical past of the drink, together with the unique 1954 recipe. 

The recipe consists of 2 oz white rum, 1 oz coconut cream, 1 oz heavy cream and 6 oz of recent pineapple juice. It additionally makes use of ½ cup of crushed ice, a pineapple wedge and Maraschino cherry for garnish. 

In 1954 Ramón “Monchito” Marrero was requested to create a drink that captured the distinctive flavors of Puerto Rico and he lastly settled on the above recipe. It was a success with visitors and locals, and Monchito continued to serve the drink at Caribe Hilton for 35 years till his retirement. 

Pina Colada at the Caribe Hilton, Puerto Rico

In 2004 and 2014 the Caribe Hilton acquired proclamations from the Governors of Puerto Rico to have fun the fiftieth and sixtieth anniversaries of the pina colada. They acknowledge “Monchito” Marrero because the official creator of the drink.

I sampled the pina colada within the resort’s Caribar and it tasted good and creamy! Undoubtedly a thumbs up for this one. 


Barrachina Puerto Rico

Situated in Outdated San Juan close to La Fortaleza, Barrachina is a Puerto Rican restaurant that additionally claims to have invented the pina colada. The plaque outdoors the restaurant reads “The home the place in 1963 the pina colada was created by Don Ramon Portas Mingot”.

I wasn’t notably eager on the pina colada served right here – it tasted prefer it had come out of a machine and simply was extra icy than creamy. It tasted heavy on the pineapple and fairly candy, so one was greater than sufficient. The cocktail is served in a milkshake-style glass with an umbrella, maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge.

Despite the fact that the pina colada right here wasn’t my favourite, the restaurant has a really colourful courtyard patio crammed with tropical vegetation – positively a great spot for Instagram pictures! 

A Remaining Phrase…

Pina Colada recipe at the Caribe Hilton

If you happen to like pina coladas then you definately’ll discover no scarcity of locations to attempt them in Puerto Rico. They’re very refreshing on a scorching, sunny day and often price round $7-$8 at most seashore bars. The pina colada is so standard all through the world that there’s even an official Pina Colada Day, which is well known on July tenth! If you happen to want extra Puerto Rico inspiration, try my Puerto Rico journey information and my 3 day Puerto Rico itinerary.


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