The Original Piña Colada Recipe Was Served As A Milkshake

For many, sipping on a piña colada evokes images of palm trees, poolside retreats, and sunny vacations. The rum-based cocktail that originated in Puerto Rico has become the unofficial drink of tropical locales and can often be seen being enjoyed on retro postcards from dream destinations. Even though we think of piña coladas as alcoholic drinks today, that wasn't always the case. While several conflicting stories exist about the exact origins of the coconut-flavored drink, the man most commonly credited with creating the drink is Ramón "Monchito" Marrero, according to Discover Puerto Rico

Monchito's original piña colada recipe, created at the San Juan, Puerto Rico Caribe Hilton Hotel, actually contained vanilla ice cream along with coconut cream and pineapple juice, the typical components of the drink we're familiar with today. Because the first piña coladas were more like milkshakes and contained no alcohol, they were often served at the hotel's snack bar.

Eventually, the quintessential ingredient of rum found its way into the recipe to satisfy the hotel's drinking-age guests, creating the vacation drink that we know and love today. 

The Caribe Hilton Hotel uses a variation of Monchito's original recipe today

Since the piña colada's creation in 1954, the drink has gone on to achieve worldwide popularity. While you can no doubt find a perfectly adequate piña colada at a bar near you, for many cocktail enthusiasts, heading straight to where the drink was born might be even better. 

The Caribe Hilton Hotel still offers authentic piña coladas to thirsty travelers, though its bartenders don't include the vanilla ice cream of Monchito's original 1950s recipe. The hotel's famous recipe consists of equal parts heavy cream and coconut cream, pineapple juice, and of course, rum. While any variety of the drink's ingredients can be used, Caribe Hilton bartenders use Coco Lopez coconut cream and Bacardi Gold rum to keep their version of the drink authentic.

While authentic piña coladas can be served up at any of the hotel's bars, guests in search of the true piña colada experience can head over to the hotel's Caribar & Caribar Terrace, the exact bar where they claim the first piña colada was served.