Variations and Substitutions
The coconut milk piña colada does require a few specific ingredients, but you can still play with flavors.
- For a more prominent coconut flavor, try coconut rum instead of light rum.
- To make the drink even creamier, use cream of coconut.
- If you're looking for a boozier touch, experiment with different proportions of pineapple juice and pineapple liqueur.
- Skip the coconut rum in favor of pineapple rum.
- Add a banana, banana-infused rum, or banana liqueur for a banana colada, or try the BBC cocktail, a banana and Baileys version.
Even though this recipe calls for a more elaborate garnish than most other cocktails, you can go even bigger or opt for a more unassuming look.
- Garnish with just a cherry, pineapple wedge, or leaf on their own.
- Use a lemon or lime peel, ribbon, or twist for more color.
- A lemon and lime wheel or slice offers a bolder citrus touch.
- Go for a grander garnish and wrap a pineapple wedge with citrus peel.
- Opt for a dehydrated wheel or slice with the pineapple cherry for fun color contrast.
About the Coconut Milk Piña Colada
The piña colada was born and raised in Puerto Rico, first in the 1800s by pirate Roberto Cofresí, who smartly made a drink of rum, coconut, and pineapple to sustain the spirits of his crew and rally them along the way. However, the recipe disappeared with Cofresí's death until its resurrection in the 1950s. The cocktail emerged in modern-day Puerto Rico when a hotel bartender, Ramón Marrero, crafted the contemporary piña colada. The rise in the drink's popularity would eventually lead to Puerto Rico declaring the piña colada the country's official drink in 1978.
Although the original recipe calls for coconut cream, the use of coconut milk in its place punches this cocktail up in a whole new way. It cuts down on the required shaking time when blending by hand and calls for an ingredient that people are more inclined to have on hand than cream of coconut or coconut cream. It is also less sweet than a traditional piña colada. What's better than a tropical three-ingredient cocktail without having to run to the store?
A Creamy Colada
The piña colada doesn't need to be blended to be creamy. Coconut milk does all the heavy lifting for you. So whether you opt for a bolder coconut flavor or you want a tropic touch without booking a plane ticket, the piña colada with coconut milk is the new go-to.