There was a time when the Pîna Colada was about as naff as you could get on the cocktail front. Now Puerto Rico’s national drink takes pride of place on the menus at London’s coolest bars. Hawksmoor, The Portobello Star – even five-star Artesian at The Langham offers versions of the rum, pineapple and coconut concoction on their cocktail lists and the best bit is, you don’t have to feel like a 1980s reject for ordering one.
The creamy cocktail is something of a barometer as to how our tastes have changed over the years. Bartenders have definitely loosened up and rather than laughing at that little part of Del Boy that lurks in all of us, they’re inviting it to pull up a stool and settle in.
Not that the new age version bears any resemblance to anything Mr. Trotter would have imbibed. Forget tinned pineapple, pre-mixes and the little or zero skill which went into making them back then, these days the Pîna Colada (meaning strained pineapple), is blended together with passion, quality ingredients and pride.
Fresh pineapple is an absolute must. So too is a superior coconut base. Most go for Coco Lopez, the cream of coconut (definitely not coconut cream) used in the original recipe which dates back to 1954, but at Hawksmoor they use coconut sorbet to fabulous effect. Mahiki Coconut, a new coconut liqueur recently launched by A-listers favourite nightclub Mahiki can also be added to the mix.
As far as the perfect recipe goes, try the Portobello Star Pina Colada, winner of the recent Coco Lopez Cocktail Challenge, created by Jake Burger at The Portobello Star.
Portobello Star Pîna Colada
25ml El Dorado 3yo Rum
25ml Myers’s Rum
8 cubes of fresh pineapple
Squirt of Coco Lopez
Large scoop of cubed ice.
Blend all ingredients together and serve in a paper cup with a straw. Garnish with a cherry.
This week we’re loving…
The Hutch Club at Quaglino’s. Hello? The promise of great cocktails served from an Art Deco-inspired Martini bar, live jazz, private Drinking Den AND the first boutique bar serving alcohol-flavoured popcorn sounds too good to miss. From 31st May-31st August at Quaglino’s, 16 Bury St. SW1Y 6AJ. Bookings here
Written for The Independent Dish of the Day blog 30/5/2013