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Piña Colada

Cotswold Cocktail School - Pina Colada Cocktail Recipe

ABV 13% / 2 alcoholic units

Primary spirit: Rum 

A Brief History of the Piña Colada 

The Piña Colada has its roots in Puerto Rico, where it was reportedly created in the 1950s. The exact origin is a subject of debate, with multiple bars and bartenders claiming to have invented the iconic cocktail. Nevertheless, its popularity quickly spread, becoming a symbol of Puerto Rican culture and eventually gaining global recognition as one of the quintessential tropical cocktails.


The Piña Colada is a sweet, smooth, and indulgent tropical delight. It offers a perfect balance of flavours. The dominant flavour in a Piña Colada, pineapple provides a sweet and tangy tropical taste, reminiscent of sunny days, whilst the coconut cream or coconut adds a luscious and rich texture, infusing the cocktail with a gentle, nutty sweetness. White rum, the spirit of choice for Piña Coladas, lends a mild alcoholic kick and a subtle complexity to the drink.

The result is a harmonious blend of fruity sweetness, creamy richness, and a hint of tropical warmth. Piña Coladas are the embodiment of relaxation in a glass.

Food Pairing

Piña Coladas are a perfect match for a variety of dishes, especially those with a hint of tropical flair:

  • Seafood: Pair your Piña Colada with grilled shrimp, coconut-crusted fish, or a seafood ceviche for a taste of the ocean.
  • Tropical Fruits: Serve the cocktail alongside a fruit salad featuring mangoes, papayas, and kiwis for an explosion of tropical flavours.
  • Spicy Foods: The Piña Colada's creamy sweetness provides a pleasant contrast to spicy dishes like Caribbean jerk chicken or Thai curry.
  • Desserts: Consider indulging in coconut-flavoured desserts like coconut cream pie or pineapple upside-down cake to complement the cocktail's flavours.

Difficulty rating - Easy

Easy to master, a Piña Colada is all about the cream of coconut. It has to be cream of coconut and not coconut cream, which are two different products. Although be wary of the sweetness that both pineapple juice and cream of coconut adds.  The only difficulty is vigorously shaking for 30 seconds or until your arms ache!

Bar Equipment

  • Boston shaker
  • Hurricane glass
  • Jigger
  • Mexican elbow


  • 50ml white rum
  • 35ml cream of coconut
  • 40ml pineapple juice
  • 10ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Garnish: pineapple wedge and leaf


  • Add the rum, cream of coconut and lime into a shaker with ice and vigorously shake for 30 seconds
  • Strain into a hurricane glass filled with crushed ice
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry

What's the best Rum for a  Piña Colada?

The best rum for a Piña Colada is typically white or silver rum, also known as light rum. Here's why white rum is the preferred choice for this tropical cocktail:

  • Clean and Neutral Flavour: White rum has a relatively neutral flavour profile compared to aged or dark rums. It's a clean and crisp spirit that doesn't overpower the delicate tropical flavours of the Piña Colada, allowing the pineapple and coconut to shine.
  • Versatility: White rum is highly versatile and mixes well with a wide range of ingredients. It provides a smooth and mellow alcoholic base that blends seamlessly with the fruity and creamy components of the cocktail.
  • Authenticity: The classic Piña Colada recipe, as it originated in Puerto Rico, traditionally uses white rum. Staying true to this tradition by using white rum maintains the cocktail's authentic taste and character.
  • Refreshing Quality: White rum's light and refreshing qualities complement the Piña Colada's aim to be a refreshing and thirst-quenching tropical drink. It doesn't add heavy or overly complex notes, keeping the cocktail light and easy to enjoy.
  • Balanced Sweetness: White rum enhances the balance of sweetness in the Piña Colada without introducing any heavy caramel or molasses flavours that might be present in aged or dark rums.

While white rum is the classic choice for a Piña Colada, you can certainly experiment with other types of rum if you're looking to create a unique twist on the cocktail. Some variations use flavoured rums, such as coconut or pineapple-infused rum, to intensify specific tropical elements. These can be enjoyable if you're seeking a more pronounced fruit flavour, but they may alter the traditional Piña Colada taste.

Staying true to this classic choice ensures a refreshing and authentic Piña Colada experience, reminiscent of sipping a cocktail on a sun-soaked beach.

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