by Ernie Martin

This recipe is the result of years of experimentation. Born in Cuba, with a house in the Bahamas and an advanced engineering degree from Caltech, I've got the right background for perfecting this drink. Oh, and did I tell you that I only like "chick drinks"? No scotch or bourbon for me. Piņa coladas, margaritas, bloody marys and eggnog are my drinks.

There are two keys to this recipe: the ingredients and that some start very cold. You can't go to the store the day you're going to make your piņa coladas. Rather, go to the store several days earlier and buy the items below, some of which will go in the refrigerator or freezer; this is for 4 people over a couple of hours -- adjust upwards for more people or time:

  • A bottle of Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay coconut flavored rum (this may not be needed*).
  • A bottle of a quality white rum (Bacardi, Ronrico, etc.).
  • Two 15 oz. cans of Coco Lopez or Goya Cream of Coconut (not coconut milk).
  • Two 20 oz. cans of sliced pineapple in its own juice (not in heavy syrup).
  • One package of styrofoam cups used for coffee (regular 8 oz. size).
When you get home, put the pineapple in the refrigerator, both rums in the freezer, the cream of coconut in the pantry and the blender jar in the freezer -- don't deviate, this is important. (If your freezer is small, you can put the rums in smaller containers.)

On a hot, sunny day (preferably by the side of the pool or beach) get ready to be transported to heaven. Pour into the cold blender jar:

  • one can of sliced pineapple after removing half the juice (don't throw the empty can away),
  • one can of cream of coconut (scrape all of the cream out of the can), and
  • the empty can of pineapple half-full of mixed rum (i.e., a quarter can of coconut rum* and a quarter can of regular white rum, both from the freezer).
Mix completely in the blender. To allow space for the ice you will be adding to the blender, pour half this mix into the empty can of pineapple and put the can promptly in the refrigerator.

Now, into the mix that is in the blender, add about 10 pieces of ice and blend at the ice-crushing speed. Stop occasionally until you hear that all the ice has been crushed. Do not over mix. Add more ice slowly and blend until you get to a homogeneous (no lumps of ice) thick mix whose surface turns slowly (if you put too much ice and the top of the mix does not turn, add to the blender a bit of the mix you saved earlier in the refrigerator, until the desired thickness is attained). Serve in the styrofoam cups 1/2 - 2/3 full. This will give you about 6 - 8 drinks.

You're not done. Put the blender jar in the freezer. If there is any left-over iced mix in the jar, just give it a quick turn in the blender when the time comes to refill the drinks. If you need more refills and the jar is empty, pour the mix you saved in the refrigerator into the blender jar and start blending in the ice as indicated above.

The incredible flavor and smoothness of the above recipe is achieved principally because there is less ice required to get the blend frothy. By starting with some of the ingredients very cold, the mix gets frothy without the watering-down effect of too much ice. A secondary factor is the extra kick of using solid pineapple slices, instead of just pineapple juice.

Typically, 4 people drinking piņa coladas on a hot day for a couple of hours will consume two batches (four blenders, since each batch makes two blenders). Add more heat or an extra hour or one more person and you'll need three batches; that's why you may need to adjust how much to buy (more is always better -- so you'll have plenty for your next get-together).

* You might not need this rum. In my recipe you mix this coconut rum and regular white rum in equal portions. This half-and-half mix can be varied to suit your taste. If you like a sweeter flavor, use only coconut rum. If you know that you will want a more tangy flavor, you could use only regular white rum, and could eliminate the purchase of coconut rum. But I strongly urge you to try my half-and-half recipe first, and then adjust from there.