Sunday, July 10, 2011

If You Like.....

"If you like Piña Colada,
and getting caught in the rain."
-Rupert Holmes, Escape (The Piña Colada Song)

This song just would not have been the same with the original lyrics, "I you like Humphrey Bogart and getting caught in the rain", especially now on.....

Piña Colada Day!!!!

The sun-drenched tropics are calling with gentle trade winds and sarong clad beach beauties, however, the history of the Pina Colada is as cloudy as the drink itself. One of the earliest known stories states that in the 1800s, Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí (a.k.a. "El Pirata Cofresí"), to boost his crew's morale, gave them a beverage that contained coconut, pineapple, and white rum. This was what would eventually become the now legendary Piña Colada. But, with his death in 1825, this recipe was lost.

Others have said that in 1957, a San Juan bartender created this "mixture of the unique flavours of Puerto Rico". In contrast, however, others have suggested that the man responsible for the Piña Colada was not, in fact, from the Caribbean at all, but from Europe instead. Ricardo Gracia, born in Barcelona Spain in 1914, was said to have invented this particular cocktail. 

Regardless of its origin, the Piña Colada is now known as the official beverage of Puerto Rico. 

So, how do we make one without flying to the Caribbean?

The most common way to make a frozen blended Piña Colada is with four simple ingredients: rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and ice.

2 ½ to 3 ounces (75-90 ml.) of White Rum
2 ounces (60 ml.) Cream of Coconut
2 ounces (60 ml.) Pineapple Juice
Crushed ice (enough to fill the serving glass)

INGREDIENT NOTE : Cream of coconut is very different from coconut milk; coconut milk cannot be used to replace the cream of coconut in this recipe. If you cannot find cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez®, which is usually available in a can in the mixers section of any local Über-Mart, you can still make a tasty version, but it takes more time and requires more steps, and, honestly, who really needs that when you're on the beach after all? For those of you who really insist, see the VARIATIONS section below for details.

Pour all of the ingredients into a commercial blender and blend thoroughly until completely smooth. Pour back into your chilled serving glass, top it off with a bendy straw, and a piece of pineapple. Enjoy!

TECHNIQUE NOTE : The ice does not need to be crushed; but, if you use regular ice cubes, you will have to blend it much longer to achieve a fully creamy texture. Hence, I recommend a commercial type blender because it has more horsepower and will give you professional island results.

Now, you can use just about any type of rum that you prefer, but white rum, sometimes also called silver rum, is the most common. The white rum allows you to keep the creamy white colour of the cocktail. Dark rums and higher proof rums can also be used, but then you're making a different drink, if that's what you want.

Wouldn't it be great coming home from a crumby day at work to find a pitcher of Piña Coladas in the fridge waiting for you? Since these are fabulous party drinks, they can be made in large batches in advance. Simply multiply the recipe as many times as you like, and then pour the blended mixture into a pitcher or other container and freeze it. The alcohol will keep it from freezing solid; just give it a good stir before serving. If it does freeze a bit, do not fear; just let it sit out on the counter to warm up for a minute while you go into the bedroom to change out of your work clothes and into a sarong; or, you could merely pour it back into the blender and give it a very short whirr. This is your call.

For a very chic and stylish version, you can freeze chunks of pineapple and use them instead of the pineapple juice and ice. This makes for an even sweeter drink since the flavor of the coconut and pineapple won’t be diluted by the slushy ice. Traditionally, this style of drink would be strained into a glass after blending—piña colada literally means “pineapple strained”, after all!

Now, if you can’t find cream of coconut, you can make an approximation yourself using unsweetened coconut milk instead. Add about two (2) ounces (60 ml.) of coconut milk and one (1) tablespoon of sugar to your blender. Since the coconut milk is much thicker than the cream of coconut, it will make a more dense drink. So, to compensate, just add some more ice. Non-fat coconut milk is to be avoided; I mean, really, what's the point?

Though the Piña Colada is most famous for being made as a blended cocktail, like a smoothie or slushie, it can also be made on-the-rocks. For an on-the-rocks version, simply leave out the blender. Using crushed ice or small ice cubes, place everything into a cocktail shaker and add an additional shot of pineapple juice. Shake, shake, shake your merry way around the room and pour into a tall frosty glass. Garnish with some frozen pineapple cubes, or, better yet, use frozen pineapple cubes instead of ice in the shaker!

Booze, booze, and more booze, what about the kiddies? To make a non-alcoholic Piña Colada, simply follow any of these VARIATIONS and leave out the rum! Personally, I would add some additional frozen fruit as a garnish and use a very tall Hurricane or Collins glass, but I'm posh like that.

Have fun!

©2011 Wait At The Bar

Special thanks to Pina Colada

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