DOTW: Piña Colada

Posted by Anita on 08.17.07 7:03 AM

(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reservedThe piña colada enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame in 1979, long before the idea of cocktails really entered my brain. The reason: A pop song by one-hit-wonder Rupert Holmes called “Escape”… better known as “The Piña Colada Song“.

Unfortunately, just like the song, most piña coladas are saccharine-sweet and filled with all kinds of nasty things you’d rather not think about. The list of ingredients on your average can of coconut creme — hydrogenated soybean oil? polysorbate 80? — is almost as gag-inducing as the idea of a married couple cruising the personals and accidentally answering one another’s ads.

But, in the name of retro authenticity, we went ahead and tried it the usual way, with Coco Lopez and store-bought pineapple juice. We got one sip into our drinks before deciding that all we could taste was chemicals and cans, and dumping them down the drain.

We bought a coconut and briefly toyed with the idea of making our own cream. But, realistically, if we’re not willing to go to such lengths to make a curry, why the hell would we do it for a cocktail? Thinking along these lines, we cracked a can of Thai coconut milk and skimmed off the cream, adding a little simple syrup for sweetness. Good idea, terrible outcome: The homemade version was unpalatably greasy, even after a spin in the blender. We gave up the idea and moved on to other drinks.

But when one of our favorite cocktail blogs decided to host a tiki cocktail contest, our thoughts returned to the unfinished experiment: the piña colada that we knew just had to be possible. We hunted high and low for chemical-free recipes, but every last one seemed to be in thrall to Señor Lopez and his additive-addled faux de coco.

During a stop at Trader Joe’s last weekend, we stumbled on the perfect antidote right there in the freezer: An all-natural coconut sorbet. After a little research, we discovered that a handful of brands offer similar products, most with few adulterating ingredients beyond coconut and water and sugar. We tinkered with Gary Reagan‘s blended piña colada recipe to adjust for the natural products’ sweetness or lack thereof. Different sorbets (not to mention different pineapples) will require your own good judgment, so think of the measurements below as a blueprint more than a hard-and-fast recipe.

Whatever your final mix, though, please promise me you’ll steer clear of the personals.

(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reserved

Piña Colada au naturel
– makes two

1/2 pint coconut sorbet
1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)
1 cup crushed ice
2 oz pineapple juice (preferably fresh or from frozen concentrate)
4 oz dark rum
pineapple (wedge, chunk, or spear), for garnish
maraschino cherries, for garnish

In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the rum, and blend until ice is well blended. Add the rum and pulse until well combined. Pour into two chilled hurricane glasses, and garnish with the pineapple wedge and cherry; paper parasols or plastic monkeys are, of course, optional but highly desired.

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Comment by Ryan

Love the blog! Pina Coladas have always seemed like one of those things you have to drink 1 or 2 of while in Mexico, but it’s never even crossed my mind to make them at home. I’ll have to give this a shot!

Posted on 08.17.07 at 8:51AM

Comment by Sean

I would remind you that we met via a personal ad. Granted, it said nothing about piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and certainly not yoga. But, still. :-)

Posted on 08.17.07 at 10:37AM

Comment by Anita

I had no idea! :D In all seriousness, I know many very happy couples who met in the personals; one was even a newspaper ad.

Actually, I guess I meant that ‘taken’ folks should avoid cruising the personals. That’ll teach me to be cute!

Posted on 08.17.07 at 11:05AM

Comment by jeanne bee

very inspired version!

Posted on 08.17.07 at 11:42AM

Comment by erik_flannestad

Aw geez, look at all those beautiful photos. Now I’m not even going to try to do a tiki photo.

Brilliant idea to use the coconut sorbet.

Posted on 08.17.07 at 11:56AM

Comment by miche

I don’t even go for pina coladas but THIS concoction I am dying to try! Thanks!

Posted on 08.17.07 at 12:10PM

Comment by Jackie

This has made my day. Now during happy hour my son can have the virgin ones without me feeling guilty about pumping him full of chemicals.

Posted on 08.17.07 at 1:47PM

Comment by Sarah C.

I had my first Pina Colada in Puerto Rico where they were apparently invented at the Hilton hotel there back in the 50s…if you believe everything a hotel tells you. I was inspired to try to make some back home and I ran into the same problem you did. Not a single Pina Colada mix on the shelf actually had pina or coconut in it. WTF?! I opted for a can of coconut milk, pinapple juice (unsweetened), rum, and a blender full of ice. While it wasnt as good as in Puerto Rico (it also wasnt $14) it was loads better than the premade crap.

Posted on 08.17.07 at 2:20PM

Comment by Bri

I love pina coladas, but I still love the virgin ones of childhood happy hours at family Mexican restaurants. What an inspired idea to use the coconut sorbet from Trader Joe’s. They also sell such great frozen pineapple, that it’s like one stop shopping for a fabulous drink. I’ll have to throw some together for my next party.

Posted on 08.17.07 at 3:34PM

Comment by bluezebra

this is why you get the big bucks isn’t it? Excellent idea!


Posted on 08.18.07 at 11:29AM

Pingback by Kaiser Penguin » Blog Archive » Tiki Photo Contest Results

[...] Anita from Married … with Dinner sent over this beautiful shot of a Pina Colada. I’m not a huge fan of frozen drinks, but her recipe actually sounds pretty good. The background elements perfectly match the cocktail and theme, and if I’m not mistaken, there’s a tasty-looking homemade maraschino cherry perched atop the garnish. Great job. [...]

Posted on 08.25.07 at 9:12AM

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