Researchin the Pina Colada by RonDr. Ron A. Ñejo talks about researching the Piña Colada in the Bartender's Corner of the August 2013 issue of "Got Rum?".
Researching the Piña Colada
by Dr. Ron A. Ñejo
There are only a handful of drinks in the world whose names alone are capable of evoking instant and universal images of sun-drenched beaches, cocktail garnishes and relaxation. Mention a Piña Colada to anyone of drinking age, and they will immediately know what you are talking about.
There is no doubt as to the geographical origin of the Piña Colada, since almost no one questions its Puerto Rican heritage. There is also no doubt in any bartender’s mind as to what distilled spirit to use when making one (no self- respecting barkeep would think of using anything other than rum). Add then some pineapple juice and a coconut derivative and, voilá, you have a Piña Colada!
Finding the exact origin of the drink within Puerto Rico, however, is a different story. The two most likely contenders are the Barrachina restaurant and the Hotel Caribe Hilton.
According to Barrachina restaurant, which is located on Fortaleza Street, in Old San Juan. The establishment was founded in 1960, by Spanish chef Pepe Barrachina. Three years after opening the doors of the restaurant, Mr. Barrachina became acquainted with a Spanish bartender who was working in Argentina and offered him a job at his restaurant. It was this bartender, Mr. Ramón Portas Mingot, who then invented the drink at Barrachina in 1963.
According to the Caribe Hilton hotel, their bartender, Mr. Ramón “Monchito” Marrero invented the Piña Colada nine years earlier, on August 15th, 1954. To back up their version of the events, staff at the Caribe Hilton are happy to share news of how in 1987 the Piña Colada was officially recognized as the National Cocktail of Puerto Rico and, in that momentous occasion, Mr. Marrero was appointed as its creator.
Regardless of which version of the story you chose to believe, the truth is that a well-crafted Piña Colada, made with fresh ingredients and high quality rum is hard to beat!