Our take on the piña colada is a much better idea than trying to step out on your old lady on the sly

Our take on the piña colada is a much better idea than trying to step out on your old lady on the sly
Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

If you don't like piña coladas (or getting caught in the rain), you're not alone. The classic tropical pineapple-coconut concotion is too often a cloyingly sugary slush, one that gives you a headache double-header: the first one right away via brain freeze; the second later via hangover, if you drink more than one or two.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Pineapple and coconut are both fruits. Well, coconut is apparently a fruit, a nut and a seed, but the point is that they both start out as fresh things from trees, while the cocktail is usually built from their sad second life as overly processed things from cans.

To freshen up the piña colada as befits its could-be-healthy status wasn't difficult. You could, if you wanted to, start with a fresh pineapple and an uncracked coconut, but I didn't go that far.

Instead of super-sweet Coco Lopez, I used plain old coconut milk – from a can, yes, but not quite as processed and no sugar or gelatin added. Instead of canned pineapple chunks or juice, I used high-quality frozen pineapple chunks. (The extra dollar for the good stuff is worth it; the chunks will be slightly less fibrous and blend more smoothly.) I added a scoop of avocado for extra creaminess, a handful of herbs for extra flavor, and some Chartreuse to the traditional rum to round out that herbal freshness. Rupert Holmes and his lady would be happy to sip a few of these, rain or no.


3 ounces Coco Lopez (canned sweetened coconut cream)

6 ounces pineapple juice

1 1⁄2 ounces white rum

1 ounce dark rum

fruit for garnish

Pour all ingredients into a blender with crushed ice, and blend until smooth. Pour into chilled hurricane glass. Garnish with pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry and tiny paper umbrella.


2 1/2 ounces gold rum

1/2 ounce Chartreuse

1/2 ounce brown sugar simple syrup

3 ounces coconut milk

1/4 ripe avocado

Double handful of frozen pineapple chunks (roughly 4 ounces by weight)

Handful each fresh basil and mint

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. (The herbs will show as green flecks, and that's OK; don't overblend or use a Vitamix, or you'll melt the drink.) Pour into a big glass or Mason jar and serve with a straw.


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Jessica Bryce Young

Jessica Bryce Young has been working with Orlando Weekly since 2003, serving as copy editor, dining editor and arts editor before becoming editor in chief in 2016.
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