Recipe: Piña Colada from 'Cuban Cocktails: 100 Classic and Modern Drinks'

On a recent trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, I made sure to drink cocktails out of coconuts as often as possible. I also learned that Coco Lopez is the bartender’s preferred brand to use when making coconut-based cocktails. In Cuban Cocktails: 100 Classic and Modern Drinks, the authors also praise Coco Lopez as the first mass-produced coconut cream, making tropical fruity drinks like this much simpler to make. It was a tough to find this brand (It wasn’t in regular or specialty grocery stores.), but I eventually found it at Randall’s.

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Quality coconut cream necessitates a piña colada. It turned out well, though it's a very sweet drink that didn’t need the additional simple syrup the recipe called for. Fresh lime juice also would help to balance that sweetness. The authors do offer a Cuban take on a piña colada that added lime juice, but it cut the coconut cream. Still, when you pour this frothy cocktail into a coconut adorned with a paper umbrella, pineapple wedge and a bendy straw, quibbles like these don't seem to matter much.

Skill level: Easy. Most recipes require only a few ingredients.
This book is for: People who really want to be on vacation right now.
Other recipes to try: Isle of Manhattan Fizz – a mix of gin, rum, coconut cream, orange flower water, club soda and pineapple and lime juices.
The verdict: Check back next week, when this piña colada takes on the next summer cocktail.

Piña Colada
1 serving

2 oz. white rum
3 oz. coconut puree
1 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. pineapple juice
½ cup crushed ice
Pineapple for garnish

• Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Pour into a tiki bowl or frozen pineapple shell. Garnish with a pineapple wedge or a cocktail umbrella. For more of a kick, whip shake ingredients and serve over crushed ice.
• To make the Cuban version, omit the coconut puree and add ¾ ounce lime juice

Reprinted with permission from Sterling Epicure