Pina Colada

I recently returned from an incredible two-weeks in Puerto Rico. I forced my kids to do all sorts of terrible things, like surfing, snorkeling, hiking, and even drinking sugary drinks like Pina Colada. Apparently, pina coladas originated in Puerto Rico (I guess that’s where rum originated from as well, but we like our drinks sin alcohol – spanish for without alcohol.) My youngest son asked me why I always take so many pictures and videos, and I told him it’s because I’m trying to save these memories so that I will never forget them; he couldn’t imagine ever forgetting anything (ah, to be young again!) They say that what you photograph is what matters most to you – and on a personal level, that’s very true (you won’t find many selfies on my camera!) but you will find lots of snippets like these:

Turns out we love pina coladas enough that I wanted to re-create this memory at home.  Finding a good recipe proved to be tricky.  Google pina colada recipes and you’ll get a wide variety, from super-trendy-hipster recipes to three-ingredient (there is now way those are the best ones!) basics that won’t impress anyone.  I did some testing, sampled a wide variety of coconut creams and milks and came up with a recipe that was kid-tested and mother-approved. 

We spent a fair amount of time at the local grocery store, Selectos, where shelves were lined with Goya-labeled everything. The Goya brand has recently made it’s way to the US, and can be found in the ethnic food sections at basic stores like Wal-mart. You’ll find the labels in both Spanish and English, so be sure to pickup a can of Crema de Coco or Cream of Coconut – a very different product from the Leche de Coco (coconut milk).  The Cream of Coconut is to coconut milk as heavy whipping cream is to skim milk. Pina coladas should be creamy, not watery! If you can’t find a Crema de Coco, look for full-fat coconut milk in a can, refrigerate it for at least 24 hours so that the water and fat will separate. When you open the can, you’ll find the thickened cream/fat at the top- spoon it out until you reach the watery milk just below it – toss the water, and add a few tablespoons of sugar to the fat (I used 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar to the 1/3 cup of fat (approximately) I spooned out. Crema de Coco, or the cream of coconut has sugar already added and is the most perfect texture of all the products I tested. I found using the fat of the canned milk, while still yummy, didn’t mix as well with the pineapple juice and ended up a bit more like frozen mottled pina colada! I used both pineapple juice and frozen pineapple, but I didn’t like the strings of pineapple that were left in the final product. Lastly, if you aren’t sipping a pina colada at a beachside bar in a cheap, clear plastic cup topped with a domed lid, you should definitely serve these in fun, novelty cups/glasses, like these ones from

Puerto Rican Pina Colada
Serves 4
A rich and creamy pina colada that will transport you to the tropical islands in the Carribean
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
435 calories
71 g
0 g
17 g
2 g
16 g
330 g
45 g
66 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 435
Calories from Fat 146
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 16g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 45mg
Total Carbohydrates 71g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 66g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the Drink
  1. 2 Cups ice cubes
  2. 1 8.75 ounce can of pineapple juice
  3. 1 15 ounce can of Crema de Coco or Cream of Coconut/Coconut Cream (sweetened)
For Garnish
  1. Pineapple quarter slices
  2. Maraschino cherries
  1. Combine all three ingredients in the blender until incorporated.
  2. Add pineapple slice to the edge of glass.
  3. Drop in a maraschino cherry.
  4. Serve immediately.
  1. Crema de Coco (or sweetened coconut cream) can be made at home with a can of full-fat coconut milk, separated (best done by refrigerating for at least 24 hours), with 3 Tbsps of sugar mixed in.
Pretty, Polished, Perfect.
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