Piña Colada

Traditionally a Puerto Rican cocktail, the Piña Colada (Spanish for "strained pineapple") has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico since 1978. Its history dates back to the early 1800's. Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí mixed a version of the drink to boost the morale of his crew. With his death 1825, the recipe was lost, and the Piña Colada isn't referenced in history again until 1922, when it is mentioned in the December issue of TRAVEL magazine. This version, however, is different from the modern day version in that it did not contain coconut. There are two plausible stories relating to the creation of the modern day Piña Colada. Both date back to 1954 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The most widely accepted story is that Ramon "Monchito" Merrero, bartender at Caribe Hilton's Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, was instructed by hotel management to create a signature drink that would impress and delight the resort's famous and glamorous clientele. After three months of experimenting with different recipes, Merrero unveiled his creation on August 16th, 1954, and the Piña Colada was born. Another account is that Ricardo Gracia created the this famous coconut cocktail by accident. Gracia worked at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico. Here, all guests were offered a complimentary drink that they called the "Coco-Loco." The Coco Loco was much like a Piña Colada (but without pineapple), and served in a hollowed coconut shell. One day, due to a strike by the coconut cutter's union, Gracia found himself with no coconuts in which to serve his drink. Instead, he poured the Coco Loco mixture inside a pineapple and served it with a straw, thus creating the Piña Colada we know and love today.