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If you like Pina Colada… you’ll be completely up to date thanks to the return of the popular cocktail from the 70s
For years it was the drink that languished in the cocktail doldrums associated with paper umbrellas and a garnish of maraschino cherry. But this summer, the pina colada is experiencing something of a renaissance.
According to data from online supermarket Ocado, customer searches for the drink rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice are up 56 percent year-on-year and a whopping 50 percent month-on-month.
In the latest Drinks Report, Waitrose says feel-good tropical cocktails are making a comeback, while pina coladas are booming in bars.
“Rum classics represent that high-energy party feeling in a post-lockdown world where we all want to dance in the streets – and the Pina Colada is the ultimate guilty pleasure to do that,” says award-winning mixologist JJ Goodman, founder of London bar The Cocktail Club.
The Pina Colada is experiencing a sort of renaissance and turns out to be a big hit. Waitrose’s latest report revealed the cocktail was making a comeback
The cocktail is said to have been invented in 1954 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by bartender Ramon ‘Monchito’ Marrero. It was even declared Puerto Rico’s national drink, but later fell out of favor as people turned away from thick, creamy cocktails.
Now, though, with nearly 1.5 million Instagram posts devoted to the drink, there’s no denying that the once-boring cocktail is back in vogue. Here, drinks expert Helen McGinn reviews the best of this summer’s instant pina coladas…
A SMART SHAKE
Soho Street Cocktails Pina Colada 1.5l, £28.99, sohostreetcocktails.com
Each of these premixed sachets contains enough to make ten drinks. The packaging also reduces the carbon footprint of the cocktail by 80 percent
Inspired by the long history of great cocktails being shaken in London’s Soho bars, these premixed pouches tick many boxes. Each contains enough to make ten potions. Just shake and pour over ice.
The sleek pouches are much more durable than glass, with an 80 percent reduction in the cocktail’s carbon footprint. And what’s inside, more than meets expectations. It’s wonderfully creamy yet fresh, with a brilliant natural pineapple flavor balanced with a hint of rum and coconut. 10/10
JUST ADD BEVERAGE
Funkin Pina Colada 1l (photo, above), £4.80, Ocado
This is a ready-to-use blend of two of the cocktail’s three essential ingredients: pineapple and coconut. You have to add a good shot of rum
This is a ready-to-use blend of two of the cocktail’s three essential ingredients: pineapple and coconut. You need to add a good splash of rum to transport you to paradise as the main ingredients in this pre-mix are sugar, water and skim milk.
The consistency is a bit on the thin side, but if quick fixes go, it’s not too bad. Make sure to put enough ice in the shaker so that the liquid has cooled down properly by the time it hits your glass. 6/10
SWEET BUT MILKY
Pina Colada Cocktail Collection 50cl (below), £10, sainsburys.com
Trying well in the cocktail shaker doesn’t seem to help, the foam only lasts for a few seconds
With all the key ingredients already in the bottle, just shake it over ice and pour into a glass.
At 19 percent alcohol, it’s a pretty small version, but it’s sweet and coconut-like — so much so that it’s hard to taste the pineapple. And I wish it were a little less like skim milk. Trying hard in the cocktail shaker doesn’t seem to help, the foam only lasts for a few seconds. Disappointing. 5/10
THE GIN SPIN
Gin-a-Colada Cocktail Syrup 50cl, £12.95, craftginclub.co.uk
Created especially for the Craft Gin Club, this is a gin twist on the classic cocktail. It’s basically a syrup, and one bottle is enough to make 20 drinks
Created especially for the Craft Gin Club, this is a gin twist on the classic cocktail. It’s basically a syrup, and one bottle is enough to make 20 drinks, by mixing 25ml of it with 50ml of gin and 75ml of pineapple juice.
Shaking with a handful of ice means you get that all-important layer of foam in your glass. It will also be well chilled, crucial for a cocktail like this.
Taste-wise, it works so much better than I imagined, even though it’s not quite gin-like. Refreshingly different, but a bit of a faff to make. 7/10
PACK A PUNCH
Hunter & Gray Pina Colada 500ml (bottom left), £19.99, hgcocktails.com
Created by professional mixologists, the bottle contains enough mix to make five drinks. The flavors are fresh and balanced
Created by professional mixologists, this bills itself as a premium small-batch premixed cocktail with rum, coconut liqueur, coconut puree, and pineapple juice.
At 18 percent alcohol, it’s definitely a rum punch. And while it’s not as creamy as some others, the flavors are fresh and balanced, with the coconut coming out on the palate along with the pineapple.
The bottle contains enough mix to make five potions, so that should get the party started. 9/10
A RUM DEAL
Malibu Pina Colada, £1.90, asda.com
Malibu has been around since the 1980s and has long been associated with the pina colada cocktail
Malibu, one of the most well-known tropical drink brands of all, has been around since the 1980s and has long been associated with the pina colada cocktail.
Since this comes in a can, it provides a portable solution for picnics and parties.
However, it’s so sweet and gooey it’s like drinking melted pineapple chunks of candy, and for just 5 percent you’re getting a bit of a rum deal. Even sticking an umbrella in the top can’t save it. 3/10