If you like piña col-ah-daas…
Then you’ve come to the right place! I thoroughly enjoyed my frosty nonalcoholic drink in San Juan, and it was inevitable that I’d recreate it before long.
Lucky for me, my friends Jessica and Marie (one of whom recommended the fantastic Restaurante Raices!) taught me once upon a time how to make them the way their Puerto Rican clans do.
The problem is, I forgot.
I never wrote the recipe down, I couldn’t remember any exact amounts, and all I knew is that I needed to buy pineapple juice and Coco Lopez.
Never mind those tiny details. I bought my groceries, and I went to work! It all worked out in the end, and I lived happily ever after.
So if you retain nothing else from this post, just remember that piña coladas require two things: pineapple juice and cream of coconut.
I’m positive that fresh pineapple would make a fine substitute here, but let’s face it: it’s wintertime in the northern U.S., and I unashamedly filled my grocery cart with all things canned. This summer I’ll go for the fresh fruit.
Helpful hint: Coconut cream makes ANY fruit smoothie taste better! Some stores carry little squeeze bottles that you can keep in your fridge and reseal for the next time. Just a little squirt can take any blended drink to the next level!
If you can’t find the bottled variety, the can is just fine. You’ll use the whole thing in this recipe, but you can also keep some of it in the fridge for a while as well – it just isn’t quite as convenient.
Just be sure you buy some kind of creamy coconut product. It may be labeled as cream of coconut, coconut cream, or the branded Coco Lopez, but it needs to be the sweet, creamy kind. Coconut milk and coconut water are NOT the same thing as cream of coconut, so you might find yourself sipping on a very sour piña colada if you don’t get the sweet stuff! Coconut milk makes for a killer curry, but it doesn’t lend itself well to a super-sweet smoothie.
So you’ve got your cream of coconut, your pineapple juice…just throw some ice into the blender, and you’ve got yourself a yummy batch of nonalcoholic piña coladas! Kids love them too, and since these are perfectly family-friendly, they’ll disappear in no time!
Bonus if you’re a fellow northerner: if you squint your eyes and turn your face toward the sky to block out any visibly remaining snow or ice, you can almost convince yourself you’re on a faraway beach with one of these in hand. Almost.
- 4 cups (32 oz.) pineapple juice
- 1 can (15 oz.) cream of coconut
- 8 cups ice
- Combine all ingredients in a blender on high speed until completely mixed. Immediately serve in glasses.
- Freeze leftovers in a covered plastic container. To re-serve, defrost in the microwave for 1 minute or until the mixture begins to soften. Use an ice cream scoop to stir and move the slush to glasses.
Be sure to use CREAM OF COCONUT, not coconut milk! Common brands include Coco Lopez and Goya.