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> The Cuban Pina Colada, 1950's NYT Article
post Mar 31 2006, 07:57 AM
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Hi Everybody,

I am doing some research for a Cocktail Wiki, and one of the cocktails featured is the Pina Colada. Most people go along with the 1954 birthdate, and believe it was created in Peurto Rico. However, there is a New York Times article from 1950 which goes as follows:

April 16th 1950, New York Times, "At the Bar":

"Drinks in the West Indies range from Martinique's famous rum punch to Cuba's pina colada (rum, pineapple and coconut milk). Key west has a variety of lime swizzles and punches, and Granadians use nutmeg in their rum drinks. Cubans and Puerto Ricans make a variety of tasty and exotic fruit beverages. These include guanabana (soursop juice), fruta bomba (papaya), watermelon juice, muskmelon juice and a drink of almond blended with banana juice."

Does anyone have any additional information?

Any help would be fantastic.


p.s. the cocktail wiki is: http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Pina_Colada
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post Jul 30 2006, 09:22 PM
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Sorry, but the Piņa Colada is not Cuban. It is from Puerto Rico originally.
The Cuban drinks are the Mojito, the Daiquiri, the Hemingway, El Presidente, the Havana Special, and the Cuba Libre


Piņa Colada - A cocktail made from light rum, coconut cream and pineapple
juice. It is especially popular during warm weather with boating enthusiasts
and at southern resort areas. The term was first printed in 1923.

The piņa colada (which in Spanish means "strained pineapple") originated
at the Caribe Hilton Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Back in 1952
bartender Ramon Monchito Marrero Perez was introduced to a new product called
Coco Lopez cream of coconut (containing coconut, sugar, water, polysorbate
60, sorbitan monostearate, salt, propylene glycol alginate, mono- and
diglycerides, citric acid, guar gum, and locaust-bean gum). On August 15,
1954, after three months of trying out various liquors with the product,
Marrero mixed pineapple juice and light rum with it, blended the mixture with
crushed ice, and came up with a sweet, creamy drink that did not really catch
on until 1954, when it was served to a group of government officials at a
convention there.

Another Puerto Rican claimed to have invented the piņa colada in 1963 at
the bar called La Barrachina in San Juan's Old City, where there still hangs
a plaque that announces "The House Where in 1963 THE PIŅA COLADA Was Created by Don Ramon Portas Mingot." But Mr. Marrero's 1952 claim seems clearly more authoritative, and, therefore, here is the original recipe. (...)

I'll probably go to the Library of Congress on Thursday, where I'll
check out QUE PASA IN PUERTO RICO. This official tourist guide was published
in the 1950s, but the LOC doesn't list the dates of its holdings. Don't
expect many holdings.

"Piņa colada" meaning "strained pineapple" may be from the 1920s, but
the drink doesn't show up in drink books until about 1970:

TRADER VIC'S BOOK OF FOOD AND DRINK (1946) doesn't have it.
CHICO PRESENTS RONRICO'S OFFICIAL MIXTRO'S GUIDE is not dated. Ronrico is a Puerto Rican rum. "1942 Cocktail" is on page 52. "49" is written on
the cover. 1949 seems a good date, or maybe the 1950s. "Piņa Colada" is NOT
here. Pg. 82 has "Piņa Rico," which contains the white of one egg, 1/2 oz.
fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz. Passion Fruit, 1 1/2 oz. Ronrico Red Label, and
ice, served in a fresh pineapple with the center taken out.
ESQUIRE'S HANDBOOK FOR HOSTS (1949) doesn't have it.
Ted Saucier's BOTTOMS UP (1951) doesn't have it.
The ESQUIRE DRINK BOOK (1956) doesn't have it.
THE RUM COOKBOOK (1973), pg. 24: Piņa Colada, pronounced _peen_-ya
koe-_lah_-da, has long been a great favourite in many parts of the American
tropics, from South Florida and Cuba southwards. Yet, it has never been
common here in Jamaica, where our lovely rums make it exceptional!
TRADER VIC'S RUM COOKERY AND DRINKERY (1974) has it on page 138.
PLAYBOY'S PARTY DRINKS (1974) doesn't have it.
PLAYBOY'S NEW BAR GUIDE (1982) has it on page 289.

I checked the Reader's Guide, and these articles on Puerto Rican tourism
didn't have Pinņ Colada:

HOLIDAY, February 1955--Pg. 59, col. 1--...drank the excellent daiquiris...
HOLIDAY, February 1959--Pg. 22, col. 4--Some frozen Daiquiris on the terrace
revived us...
Pg. 23, col. 1--On the tables were small colorful brochures announcing a
_Fiesta de Bebidas_, which, I suppose, might best be translated as "Booze
Fest." Featured were such startling drinks as (Col. 2; these are Caribe
Hilton drinks--ed.) the Hurricane Buster (Calvados, rum and Curacao served in
a hurricane lamp) and the Coucou Comber (vodka and Pernod, served in a
cucumber). We passed up these and ordered two _Sol Y Sombras_ ($1.35 each).
This was no mistake. To suck rum through a straw from a pineapple is about
as pleasant an occupation as any I know.
VOGUE, February 1, 1959
HOLIDAY, February 1961
ESQUIRE, November 1962
HOLIDAY, March 1968--Pg. 95, col. 2--Puerto Rican morality is one of her
favorite subjects. "Have you heard of Social Fridays?" she asks. "It's an
institution most wives take for granted. A night out.
VOGUE, January 15, 1971

From GOURMET, "Summer Drinks," July 1968, pg. 31, col. 1:

_Piņa Colada_
In the container of a blender combine 1 cup canned pineapple cubes with
2 tablespoons coconut milk and 1 teaspoon each of lime juice and sugar.
Blend the mixture at high speed until it is a thick puree. Strain the puree
through four thicknesses of cheesecloth, pressing the cloth to extract all
the juice, and discard the pineapple pulp. Chill the juice and return it to
the blender, with 1 1/4 cups firmly packed finely crushed ice and 2 ounces
light rum. Blend the mixture at high speed for about 30 seconds, or just
until it is the consistency of soft sherbet. Pour the drink into a highball
glass and decorate it with a stick of fresh pineapple and a green maraschino
cherry. Serve the drink with a straw. The rum may be omitted, if desired.

From GOURMET, "Gourmet Holidays," November 1968, pg. 56, col. 2:

You will, in any case, arrive in time to swim in the DORADO HILTON's
pool and to bask in the late afternoon sun. Then make your way to the
hotel's Bamboo Bar for a cooling _piņa colada_ or a Daiquiri with Puerto
Rican rum (an extremely popular drink Stateside, too), and repair leisurely
to your room to change for a _comida puertorriquena_ (a complete Puerto Rican
dinner) in the delightfully air-conditioned main dining room.

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post Jul 31 2006, 12:37 AM
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Here is another story about the origins of the piņa colada


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