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FOOD HOLIDAY: National Piña Colada Day

July 10th is National Piña Colada Day.

PIÑA COLADA HISTORY

There would be no Piña Colada without Coco Lopez, the coconut cream used to make it.

Coco López is a brand of cream of coconut, invented in 1954 by Ramón López Irizarry, a professor of agriculture at the University of Puerto Rico. The ingredients on the can include coconut milk, sugar, water, emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners (guar gum, locust bean gum, mono- and diglycerides, polysorb 60, sorbitan monostearate, Propylene glycol alginate) and preservative (citric acid).

The creamy heart of the coconut fruit had long been used in Caribbean desserts. But separating it from from the coconut pulp was an arduous process.

With funds from the government, Irizarry worked on a solution. He ultimately left teaching to produce and sell his product, which was adopted not just by cooks but by bartenders.

 

Pina Colada, the national drink of Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy Caribe Hilton.

 

According to the book “La Gran Cocina Del Caribe” by José L. Díaz de Villega, the Piña Colada made its debut on August 16, 1954 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a watering hole for a star-studded clientele. The hotel management had requested that bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero create a new signature cocktail. Marrero worked for three months on the recipe.

Piña is Spanish for pineapple, and colada means strained; the drink is usually served blended with ice. The Piña Colada has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico since 1978.

 

Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, inventor of the
Ramon-Monchito-Marreroa Piña Colada.
Photo courtesy Caribe Hilton.

 

ORIGINAL PIÑA COLADA RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce coconut cream (e.g., Coco Lopez)
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 6 ounces fresh pineapple juice*
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • Garnishes: pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the rum, coconut cream, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add the ice and blend for about 15 seconds or until smooth.

    2. POUR into a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

    *The difference between a good and great Pina Colada is the difference between canned and fresh pineapple juice.

     

    MORE PIÑA COLADA RECIPES

  • Low Calorie Piña Colada (recipe)
  • Piña Colada Mousse (recipe)
  • Piña Colada Pizza (recipe)
  •   





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