The tropical piña colada is the national drink of Puerto Rico and many claim to be the inventor.
The piña colada is a classic cocktail that is strongly associated with vacation, tropical beaches, and of course, that popular song of the same name. It’s the kind of drink that you want to enjoy poolside or while wiggling your toes in the sand. The piña colada, literally translated as “strained pineapple,” was named the national drink of Puerto Rico in 1978. The traditional recipe calls for one part white rum, one part coconut milk (typically Coco Lopez brand cream of coconut), and three parts pineapple juice. It is served blended with ice and garnished with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.
While it is easy to agree on what goes in the drink, the true inventor of the piña colada is up for debate. Three bartenders from Puerto Rico claim to be the originators. The first is Ramón Perez, who said he created it on August 15, 1952 while working at the Beachcomber Bar in the Hilton Caribe. The second is another Hilton employee named Ricardo Garcia. The third claim comes from Ramón Mingot, who said he created the drink in 1963 at the Barrachina Restaurant in Old San Juan. The restaurant is still open today and considers itself the birthplace of the piña colada.
Yet another origin story claims that the Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresi served his crew a drink of rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice in order to boost their morale. While it was not called a piña colada, it would later become the famous drink.