The piña colada leads an unfortunate double life. During a tropical island vacation, it’s everyone’s favorite cocktail. It’s the go-to, a must-have accessory for sitting by the pool. But after a long day, or work, or out for an evening on the town, piña coladas are a joke. Why? Is it the paper umbrella? The curvaceous glass?
When made correctly (i.e., not from a mix) with sweet creamy coconut, fresh pineapple and rich, heady rum, the piña colada is a fine example of cocktail craftsmanship. Which is why it’s so nice to see bartenders across the country doing right by it. Here, three ways bars are making piña coladas you won’t be ashamed to drink in the city.
Adding more rum. One of the key piña colada decisions is whether to blend it. At Andina in Portland, Oregon, head bartender Eddie Johnson blends for both creamy consistency and a high enough density to hold an extra shot of rum. The base rum is Appleton Gold infused with pineapple and cinnamon, which gets blitzed with coconut cream, fresh crushed pineapple and sugar. Then, Johnson floats a shot of Gosling’s Black Seal rum on top. “It looks nice but more than that, it makes you readily aware that you’re drinking an alcoholic beverage. It adds a little punch,” he says. “Otherwise it’s too easy to drink.”