If you like Pina Colada… you're bang up to date

If you like Pina Colada… you're bang up to date

If you like Pina Colada… you’re bang up to date, thanks to the return of the hit 70s cocktail

  • The Pina Colada is enjoying something of a renaissance proving a big hit 
  • Waitrose’s latest report revealed that the cocktail was making a comeback
  • UK-based writer Helen McGinn rates the best of this summer’s Pina Coladas

For years it was the drink that languished in the cocktaildoldrums, associated with paper umbrellas and a maraschino cherry garnish. But this summer, the pina colada is enjoying something of a renaissance. 

According to data from online supermarket Ocado, customer searches for the rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice drink are up 56 per cent year-on-year, and a staggering 50 per cent month-on-month. 

In its latest Drinks Report, Waitrose says feel-good tropical cocktails are making a comeback, meanwhile in bars, pina colada sales are booming. 

‘Rum classics represent that high-energy party feeling in a post-lockdown world where we all want to dance in the street — and the Pina Colada is the ultimate guilty pleasure to do that with,’ says award-winning mixologist JJ Goodman, founder of ­London bar The Cocktail Club. 

The Pina Colada is enjoying something of a renaissance proving a big hit. Waitrose’s latest report revealed that the cocktail was making a comeback

The cocktail was purportedly invented in 1954 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by bartender Ramon ‘­Monchito’ Marrero. It was even declared the national drink of Puerto Rico, but later fell out of favour when people turned away from thick, creamy cocktails. 

Now, however, with nearly 1.5 million ­Instagram posts dedicated to the drink, there’s no denying the once-naff cocktail is firmly back in fashion. Here, drinks expert Helen McGinn rates the best of this summer’s instant pina coladas…

A SMART SHAKE 

Soho Street Cocktails Pina Colada 1.5l, £28.99, sohostreetcocktails.com 

Each of these pre-mixed pouches contain enough to make ten drinks. The packaging also reduces the cocktail’s carbon footprint by 80 per cent 

Inspired by the long history of great cocktails shaken in Soho bars in London, these pre-mixed pouches tick a lot of boxes. Each contains enough to make ten drinks. Simply shake and pour over ice. 

The sleek pouches are far more sustainable than glass, with an 80 per cent reduction in the cocktail’s carbon footprint. And what’s inside more than matches up to expectations. It’s deliciously creamy but fresh, with a brilliant, natural pineapple taste balanced with a hit of rum and coconut. 10/10 

JUST ADD BOOZE 

Funkin Pina Colada 1l (pictured, top), £4.80, Ocado 

This is a pre-made mix of two of the cocktail’s three essential i­ngredients — pineapple and coconut. You’ll need to add a generous slug of rum

This is a pre-made mix of two of the cocktail’s three essential i­ngredients — pineapple and coconut. You’ll need to add a generous slug of rum to transport you to paradise, because the main ingredients in this pre-mix are sugar, water and skimmed milk. 

The consistency is a bit on the thin side, but as quick fixes go it’s not too bad. Just make sure you add plenty of ice to the shaker, so the liquid is properly chilled by the time it hits your glass. 6/10 

SWEET BUT MILKY 

Pina Colada Cocktail Collection 50cl (below), £10, sainsburys.com 

Giving it a good go in the cocktail shaker doesn’t seem to help, with the foam lasting only a few seconds

With all the key ingredients in the bottle already, all you do is shake it over ice and pour into a glass. 

At 19 per cent alcohol, it’s a pretty pokey version, but it’s sweet and coconutty — so much so it’s hard to taste the pineapple. And I’d like it to look a little less like skimmed milk. Giving it a good go in the cocktail shaker doesn’t seem to help, with the foam lasting only a few seconds. Disappointing. 5/10  

THE GIN SPIN 

Gin-a-Colada Cocktail Syrup 50cl, £12.95, craftginclub.co.uk 

Specially made for the Craft Gin Club, this is a gin spin on the classic cocktail. It’s actually a syrup, and one bottle is enough to make 20 drinks

Specially made for the Craft Gin Club, this is a gin spin on the classic cocktail. It’s actually a syrup, and one bottle is enough to make 20 drinks, by mixing 25ml of it with 50ml of gin and 75ml of pineapple juice. 

Shaking it with a handful of ice means you get that all-­important layer of foam in your glass. It’ll also be properly chilled, crucial for a cocktail like this. 

Taste-wise, it works so much better than I thought it would, even if it’s not particularly gin-like. Refreshingly different, but a bit of a faff to make. 7/10 

PACKS A PUNCH 

Hunter & Grey Pina Colada 500ml (below left), £19.99, hgcocktails.com 

Created by professional mixologists the bottle contains enough mix to make five drinks. The flavours are fresh and balanced 

Created by professional mixologists, this bills itself as a small-batch premium pre-mixed cocktail with rum, coconut liqueur, coconut puree and pineapple juice. 

At 18 per cent alcohol, it certainly packs a rum punch. And even though it’s not as creamy as some of the others, the flavours are fresh and balanced, with the coconut coming through on the palate alongside the pineapple. 

The bottle contains enough mix to make five drinks, so that should get the party started. 9/10 

A RUM DEAL 

Malibu Pina Colada, £1.90, asda.com 

Malibu has been around since the 1980s and has long been associated with the pina colada cocktail

One of the most famous t­ropical drink brands of them all, Malibu has been around since the 1980s and has long been associated with the pina colada cocktail. 

As this comes in a can, it offers a portable solution for picnics and parties. 

However, it’s so sweet and cloying that it’s like drinking melted pineapple-chunk sweets, and at just 5 per cent, you get a bit of a rum deal. Not even sticking an umbrella in the top can save this one. 3/10 

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