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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Piña Colada Day and A Taste of Puerto Rico

Are you surprised that today is National Piña Colada Day? I am in a way. You see, I have been prepared to celebrate the Piña Colada, one of my very best favorite summer cocktails by the way, for quite some time since according to John Mariani, and his excellent resource manuel The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, the Piña Colada was first concocted on August 15, 1954.

"Piña Colada: A cocktail made from light rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice. It is especially popular during warm weather with boating enthusiasts and at southern resort areas. The term was first printed in 1923:"

"The Piña Colada (which in Spanish means "strained pineapple") originated at the Caribe Hilton Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Back in 1952 bartender Ramon Monchito Marrero Perez was introduced to a new product called Coco Lopez cream of coconut (containing coconut, sugar, water, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, salt, propylene glycol alginate, mono- and diglycerides, citric acid, guar gum, and locaust-bean gum). On August 15, 1954, after three months of trying out various liquors with the product, Marrero mixed pineapple juice and light rum with it, blended the mixture with crushed ice, and came up with a sweet, creamy drink that did not really catch on until 1954, when it was served to a group of government officials at a convention there.

Another Puerto Rican claimed to have invented the pina colada in 1963 at the bar called La Barrachina in San Juan's Old City, where there still hangs a plaque that announces "The House Where in 1963 THE PINA COLADA Was Created by Don Ramon Portas Mingot." But Mr. Marrero's 1952 claim seems clearly more authoritative, and, therefore, here is the original recipe:

Pour 2 ounces light Bacardi's rum, 1 ounce coconut cream, 1 ounce heavy cream, and 6 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice into a blender with a cup of crushed ice. Blend for about 15 seconds and serve in a large glass with a garnish of pineapple stick and maraschino cherry. (An almost identical drink, the Babia, invented at Trader Vic's restaurant in San Francisco, substitutes 1 ounce white Jamaican rum and 1 ounce light Puerto Rican rum for the Bacardi rum in this recipe)"

Lucky for me, and you, we don't have to wait until August to celebrate because by most accounts, July 10th is National Piña Colada Day!

How do you like that Coco Lopez leaflet at the top of this post? It isn't dated but it sure has some tasty creations in it.

It also has a stirring of Coco Lopez history too.

"It all started in 1948. That's the year Don Ramon Lopez-Irizarry discovered the secret of capturing smooth delicious homogenized liquid coconut in a can. He named his creation Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut.

Four years later a bartender at the San Juan Caribe Hilton combined this creation with pineapple juice and light rum. The Piña Colada was born! Soon the drink became as much a part of the appeal of the tropics as blue water, silver sands and palm trees in the warm island breeze."

We just can't celebrate Piña Colada Day without a little bit of a noshery, now can we? How about something from The Taste of Puerto Rico Cookbook also undated.

"Angela Spenceley shares 15 years of experience and creativity collecting recipes from family and long-time local residents. After two years of historical research, experimenting with recipes in the kitchen and lots of tasting, her uncomplicated methods will appeal to the experienced gourmet and the beginning cook."

I just couldn't resist this Rum Stewed Shrimp Recipe. Can you?

To be perfectly honest, I've been celebrating the Piña Colada on my Pinterest boards for quite a while! Here is just a nibble from my boards.

Happy Piña Colada Day everyone! See you Sunday for National Grand Marnier Day!