In Potions of the Caribbean, tiki archeologist Jeff Berry traces this recipe back to 1954, when Caribe Hilton bar manager Ricardo Garcia substituted the newly available Coco Lopez for house-made coconut cream in their legendary welcome cocktail, which became known as the Piña Colada.
An expertly prepared blended drink is the cocktail world's equivalent of a great pastry chef's ice cream, whose texture is as remarkable as its flavor. Mastering the physics and thermodynamics of the blended drink requires the same attention to detail as the shaking of stirring that only transforms the liquid in a cocktail. To archive the proper dilution, chill, and texture, ice must be measured like an ingredient, as adding to little yields an improperly balanced slushy consistency and adding too much leads to a frosty, sorbet-like mixture better served with a spoon. You'll never achieve this texture with full-size ice cubes, so add crushed or pebble ice to the whirring blender until it produces what Jeff Morgenthaler calls "a central vortex, with distinct curves of drink flowing into it, almost like pillows of drink folding into each other" in The Bar Book.
4 oz. Bacardi Heritage white rum
3 oz. pineapple juice
3 oz. coconut sorbet
1 oz. lime juice
18 oz. by volume pebble ice
Garnish: 1 pineapple leaf
Build in a blender cup and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled hurricane glass. Garnish with the pineapple leaf.
Most Piña Coladas are prepared with canned pineapple juice with Coco Lopez coconut cream, which looks and tastes like suntan lotion. Many would wield my Bloody Mary logic (supporting commercial mixers) against me here, but the only way I'll take this drink is with handmade coconut cream or sorbet and fresh pineapple juice. A more flavorful rum doesn't improve the drink.
Photography by Doran Gild Photography
Purchase your copy of Meehan's Bartender Manual today!
Reprinted from Meehan's Bartender Manual with permission by Ten Speed Press
Jim Meehan is a bartender, journalist, and author of The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender Manual, has worked in nearly every capacity of the hospitality business for the latter half his of his 40 years on the planet.
A Chicago area native schooled in Wisconsin, who achieved acclaim for his work behind bars in New York City; he now spends almost as much time on the road at trade shows and trainings as at home in Portland, Oregon.
Jim’s passion for service, quest for further knowledge, belief in the transformative power of hospitality, and commitment to mentor the industries next generation is only divided by his duties as a proud father and devoted husband.