Your Piña Coladas Are In Need Of A Caffeine Pick-Me-Up

Few drinks say quintessential summertime like a piña colada. It's time to kick those relaxed, vacation-ready vibes into high gear and give them a bit of a boost. Between espresso martinis, Irish coffees, and the dreaded Jäger bomb, it's no secret a decent market exists for the combination of alcohol and caffeine. Consequently, bringing a bit of a boost to a classic cocktail like a piña colada is a natural next step. 

The Cuban colada hit the scene over a decade ago, and you'd be surprised how easily you can whip one up in your kitchen. This frozen treat has all the makings of a typical piña colada but with a fun and unexpected update. A few coffee beans are blended into the classic recipe, and while that may seem like a subtle change, it has quite an impact on this delicious — and now-caffeinated — beverage.

As coconut is one of the most prominent flavors in piña coladas, it blends perfectly with the taste of coffee. Of course, the combination of pineapple and coffee is a bit more unorthodox, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. Julio Cabrera, who oversaw the creation of Cuban cocktails at the bar where bartender John Lermayer first whipped up this recipe told Punch that adding coffee beans "creates some weirdness and complexity." Even so, he agreed this deviation is a good one. "It's amazing how two coffee beans in a blender can change the whole thing," said Cabrera.

How to make your own coffee piña colada

The original Cuban colada recipe is pretty simple. Combine 1.5 cups of crushed ice with 1.5 ounces of aged rum, 3 ounces of cream of coconut, 1.5 ounces of pineapple juice, two 1-inch chunks of fresh pineapple, and five coffee beans. Purée the ingredients in a blender until you've got a smooth consistency. Then, pour the drink into a chilled glass, top it with 1 ounce of Pedro Ximénez sherry, and garnish with fresh cherry and mint sprig. Without too many extra steps, you'll have a summer cocktail that will wake up your tastebuds and definitely won't put you to sleep.

Unsurprisingly, since this combination of flavors works so well, more coffee piña colada recipes have been created since the Cuban colada was first invented, and there are plenty of options if you don't want to add coffee beans. Some use instant coffee instead of coffee beans, while others add pre-made iced coffee to the frozen cocktail. 

If you want to go even sweeter, consider that the original piña colada recipe was served as a milkshake. This recipe calls for mixing ice cream into the cocktail. Why not try some coffee ice cream instead? It's safe to say this flavor profile works well enough that it's worth doing some experimenting of your own. Cheers to a perfectly caffeinated twist on a classic.