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Pina Colada Cocktail Recipe (Shaken, Not Frozen)

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Whether you’ve come looking for Pina Colada because you love the way it sounds, or because you’ve got the song stuck in your head, it will still taste absolutely amazing. It can instantly turn your day into something fun, beachy, and might make you plan your next vacation ASAP. 

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Pina Colada

What is Pina Colada ?

Pina Colada has become such a common cocktail that no one really questions how it came to be or when it first appeared; we were all just born into this rum-pineapple-coconut life. Still, if you’d like to know a little backstory it turns out that this drink was invented in the 1950s in Puerto Rico by a bartender named Ramon Marrero. The drink was instantly loved and impressed many, to the point where it was declared Puerto Rico’s official drink. 

To be fair, that means there is an official and standard version of the Pina Colada – just dark rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut, frozen and blended. What I’ve made here is a shaken version, and I’ve used coconut syrup instead of cream of coconut. 

pina colada 2

Pina Colada Cocktail Recipe (Shaken)

Ioana Ciuraru
My all-time favorite, and perhaps one of the most iconic cocktails ever.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1


  • 2 oz rum
  • 4 oz pineapple juice
  • 1.5 oz coconut syrup or cream of coconut


  • In a shaker combine rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut or syrup, Shake well.
  • Strain into ice-filled hurricane glass.
  • Garnish with pineapple.


  • This is sweet, so feel free to tone down the coconut syrup. Or swap it for cream of coconut, which is less sweet.
  • Any rum will work here, light rum is still strong but less pronounced in flavor. I used dark for a stronger flavor.

When is this drink best ?

At any point, really. It’s sweet and summery enough to go with anything from a summer beach wedding to cocktail hour to just BBQing in the backyard. It’s also very deceiving drink, since the pineapple masks a lot of the alcohol, and the coconut helps things along. It’s incredibly easy to get more than a nice buzz from this. 

My thoughts on Pina Colada

I absolutely love it. I think there are people who don’t like this mix of flavors, and I think they’re really missing out. The coconut just pairs so well with the pineapple, and also with the rum, and the rum with all of them. There’s really no way to make this wrong, whether you shake it or blend it. 

I didn’t think the difference in texture would do much for me, so I didn’t blend mine. Some bars serve it shaken, some blend it. A blended one will be more like a slushie, and very foamy.

Another thing, that I didn’t get to do here (as I didn’t have enough), is that the cheefulness of a Pina Colada allows you to go wild with the garnish. All the garnish, all the umbrellas, the neon cherries, the pineapple wedges, orange slices, coconut flakes, what have you. This is delicious to drink and to look at, and you can get away with almost anything.

pina colada making

If you like Pina colada, you might also like…

“Getting caught in the rain…” sorry I just couldn’t help it. 

Painkiller – a twist on the Pina Colada, but still delicious

Belladonna – light rum, dark rum, and all the fruit !

Chi Chi – a vodka version of the Pina Colada

Rum Punch – a summery rum punch

Notes, substitutes, and tips

Dark rum works best here, but you can use any rum at all (spiced, gold, light). Light rum is far milder in flavor than any other rum so the drink may taste a bit bland in comparison, but the alcohol is still there. 

Coconut syrup, coconut cream, cream of coconut, and coconut milk, all of them are different. If you can’t find coconut syrup, get cream of coconut (it’s sweetened). If you’re using coconut milk or coconut cream, add simple syrup.

I used coconut syrup, which is pretty sweet but has a very strong flavor. If you want to tone down the sweetness use cream of coconut, or a blend of coconut cream and coconut syrup.

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