Ultra-Tropical Piña Colada Recipe

Taste the tropics, not ice water.

Photographs: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Freezing the ingredients first means you can use less ice, leading to a more flavorful, less diluted drink.
  • Ripe fresh pineapple or canned pineapple chunks are more flavorful than pineapple juice, plus their fiber helps thicken the drink.
  • Coconut cream has a more natural flavor than Coco Lopez.
  • Measuring solids by weight gives you better control over the ingredient ratios.

A good piña colada should instantly transport you to warm sandy beaches and turquoise waters. What we don't want is a drink that tastes weak and watery, nor artificially tropical, as if someone dumped a bottle of tanning oil into the blender. This version produces a slushy frozen cocktail full of ripe pineapple and rich coconut flavor. Plus a good, strong hit of rum.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 70 mins
Makes: 1 drink

Rate & Comment


  • 5 ounces (140g) very ripe peeled and cored fresh pineapple, frozen pineapple, or drained canned pineapple chunks (see note)
  • 1 3/4 ounces (50ml) unsweetened coconut cream, shaken or stirred well to incorporate fat
  • 1 ounce (30ml) simple syrup (see note)
  • 3/4 to 1 ounce (20-30ml) fresh juice from 1 lime
  • 2 1/2 ounces (75ml) white or gold rum, kept in freezer until freezer-cold
  • 4 ounces (115g) ice cubes
  • Pineapple slice and/or maraschino cherry, for garnish
  • Paper umbrella and straw, for serving (optional)


  1. In an airtight plastic container, combine pineapple, coconut cream, simple syrup, and 3/4 ounce lime juice, and transfer to freezer until frozen, at least one hour (the sugar in the mixture may prevent it from freezing solid; this is okay).

  2. In a blender, combine frozen pineapple mixture with ice-cold rum and ice and blend until thick and slushy. Taste, then blend in the remaining 1/4 ounce lime juice, if desired. Pour into a large glass, garnish with pineapple and/or a cherry, and serve, with or without an paper umbrella and straw.

  3. If you want to make multiple drinks, you can pre-batch up to a double recipe (a blender may not hold much more than that easily) in a single container, then divide after blending; for more than two drinks, use separate containers to hold more servings.

Special equipment



Only use fresh pineapple if you can find a truly ripe and sweet fruit; otherwise frozen or canned will be better. To make simple syrup, combine equal volumes of granulated sugar and water, then stir until sugar is completely dissolved; extra simple syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Make-Ahead and Storage

The pre-batched frozen ingredients can be assembled and kept in the freezer up to 12 hours before serving.

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