Make a Piña Colada for the First Time: A Recipe and Then Some

Written by Carrie Jean Lipe

As a budding bartender, all you need are three simple things when you attempt to make a new drink on the fly (cough, piña colada, cough). The only items to equip yourself are the ingredients, a killer recipe, and a quick talking point to make it seem like you’ve been making this drink for years.

Today, you’ll walk away with at least two of the necessary requirements: a killer recipe and an interesting story to share with your new regulars. Plus as a bonus, (because we want you to be amazing bartenders) we’ll answer a few common FAQs in the land of piña coladas. 

Let’s get you to make a piña colada for the first time.  

A little drink garnish goes a long way.

A little drink garnish goes a long way.

Make a Piña Colada with this Recipe

The original technique for making this creamy tiki drink doesn’t need a blender (more on the history later!). So if your bar doesn’t have one, this recipe is perfect for you. 

For those of you bartenders that are lucky enough to have a blender, feel free to blend all of the ingredients for a creamy, frothy, blended cocktail.

You’ll need:

  • 2 ounces (oz) light rum
  • 1.5 oz cream of coconut
  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz lime juice 
  • Glass: Hurricane
  • Garnish: pineapple leaf and freshly cut wedge


  1. Combine rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and cream of coconut to a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake for about 30 seconds.
  3. Service over fresh pebble ice and garnish. 

Save pineapple leaves for an exotic garnish.

Save pineapple leaves for an exotic garnish.

Please Your Patrons with this Piña Colada Fact

A sure-fire way to trick your new regular into thinking this totally isn’t your first time making a piña colada is to tell them a fact only a super talented bartender would know. We’re always fans of a good ‘ole origin story.

Ramōn was a bartender at the beautiful Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This takes us to where everyone’s favorite cruise drink was conceived. Ramon grabbed some rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice off the shelf, threw them all together in his shaker, and created the beloved piña colada. 

We Answer Piña Colada Questions 

We would love to be able to come to you at home and show you how to mix all of these ingredients into a delicious piña colada drink–oh wait! We can! 

One of our PRO bartenders can come to show you how to make a piña colada. You’ll be up to speed in no time.

Until then, let’s answer some frequently asked questions. And, yes you can make a virgin piña colada.

What is the best piña colada mix?

You might be at the whim of your bar manager (tell them if you think it sucks, though!), but we at Local Bartending School like Finest Call and Mr. & Mrs. T’s

Does piña colada have alcohol?

Traditionally and unless you’re told otherwise, yes! However, this tasty hot weather treat can be enjoyed without alcohol (aka a virgin piña colada) for your bartop guests who are underage or don’t drink.

What alcohol goes with piña colada?

Rum pairs best with coconut and pineapple flavors. It’s standard to use a light or white rum but you can switch this up if your regular loves gold rum. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment (probably at home so you don’t run a tab up at your job or serve a terrible drink)! This is one of the best ways to learn. 

Suggest a fresh piña colada to drink on hot days.

Suggest a fresh piña colada to drink on hot days.

You’re More than Ready to Make a Piña Colada for the First Time

Congratulations! If you’ve read all the way through, you have more information on piña coladas than at least a tenth of the bartenders behind the bar at this very moment. You have a killer, time-tried recipe that’s sure to be sucked up all summer long. You know a bit of the history AND have answers to the most common questions people are stuck wondering about. 

Looking to hone your craft beyond piña coladas? We’ve helped hundreds of students become successful bartenders through our 1-on-1 In-Home Course and effective Job Placement program. Get started by entering a few details here!

Don’t let your other bartender buddies make a terrible cocktail! Share this on your social media so they’re in the know.

Carrie Jean Lipe

Carrie Lipe has been writing creatively since childhood but jump-started her professional writing after college. She's an Indiana native, Ball State Hospitality graduate, and a bartender with over 10+ years in the industry. You can find her making basil Moscow mules when she's not writing. Follow her professional journey on Instagram! @contentbycarriejean