National Piña Colada Day occurs annually on July 10, to celebrate one of the most popular tropical rum cocktails of all time. The very flavors of the piña colada—rum, pineapple and coconut cream—conjure images of warm days, cool ocean breezes, and swaying palm trees, making July the perfect time to celebrate this tropical treat!
And the piña colada, like many famous cocktails… have a contentious history.
Early legend claims that Roberto Cofresí, a Puerto Rican pirate, created a drink for his crew made from white rum, pineapple and coconut. A 1950 New York Times article references the piña colada as a regional drink of the West Indies. Puerto Ricans also lay claim to the invention of the frosty beverage, and have declared by proclamation that their native son Ramón “Monchito” Marrero invented the drink in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, in order to capture the true essence of Puerto Rico. Barrachina, a restaurant in Puerto Rico, does not dispute the drink is Puerto Rican in origin—but they claim that a Spanish bartender in their own employ—Don Ramon Portas Mingot—created the piña colada at their establishment in 1963.
No matter who gets credit for the invention of the piña colada—which literally translates to “strained pineapple”—the drink surged in popularity after Puerto Rico declared the cocktail their official drink in 1978, followed by the release of Rupert Holmes’ hit song “Escape (The Piña Colada Song).”
Nix the Mix: For best results, avoid pre-made mixes that are full of artificial flavors. Use fresh pineapple juice if available!
Use Your Coconut: When shopping for ingredients, be sure you’re getting coconut cream. Coconut milk is too thin for this creamy concoction. (Though if you’re desperate, you can use coconut milk as long as you thicken it up with condensed milk.)
Experiment: A traditional piña colada is made with white rum—but gold or dark rums can make things interesting!
National Piña Colada Day is typically celebrated