If you like Piña Coladas
Perhaps one of the most iconic drinks to be found onboard a cruise ship and at beach bars alike is the piña colada. As the official beverage of Puerto Rico, this pineapple concoction has a history that is hotly debated.
Born in Cuba, the virgin piña colada became alcoholic when it met Puerto Rican rum — and the Caribe Hilton and Barrachina restaurant in San Juan both lay claim to its creation. According to Puerto Rican historians, the famous drink was created on August 16, 1954, by Ramon "Monchito" Marrero for the Caribe Hilton. This fact is documented since Monchito used Coco Lopez cream of coconut, which was created that same year by Ramón López Irizarry, an agricultural professor at the University of Puerto Rico.
Piña Colada Controversy
However, there are two sides to every story. The folks at Barrachina restaurant maintain that Spanish chef Pepe Barrachina met in 1963 with a fellow Spaniard, bartender Don Ramon Portas Mingot, to create a new cocktail. Mingot combined pineapple juice, coconut cream, condensed milk and ice in a blender. While the originator of the drink may never be truly known, one thing is for sure: It became one of the most popular cocktails in the Caribbean and beyond and a cruise vacation is just not the same without it.
Like the piña colada, many other Caribbean drinks use a rum base, as the area is known for some of the best rum in the world. And what would a Caribbean cruise vacation be without a rum-based mojito to quench your thirst? The perfectly crisp and refreshing drink makes its home in Cuba, but its origin is debated. Ernest Hemingway popularized this drink at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, which displays his handwritten note on the wall of the bar.
For a knockout, be sure to check out one of the many types of rum punches available throughout the Caribbean islands. The Barbadian Bajan rum punch even has a national rhyme, so you can remember how to make it at home: "One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak." That's one part lime juice, two parts sweetener, three parts rum and four parts water.
There is also the Dominican Republic's somewhat mysterious mamajuana, which was originally a tea steeped in bark, herbs and honey. Later, red wine was added to the mix. And not shockingly, its base is — yo-ho-ho — a bit of rum.
If your cruise travels take you to St. Maarten/St. Martin, pick up some guavaberry liqueur, made with a rare fruit found in the center of the island's high hills. "There is really nothing in nature that tastes quite like a guavaberry," said Stephen Thompson, managing director of Sint Maarten Guavaberry Company. "Guavaberry is an essential part of the history on [the island], inextricably tied to her folklore and culture. In that way it is in a different league. It is quite precious. The fruit is also extremely rare."
- 2 oz. Sint Maarten Guavaberry liqueur
- 1 oz. cream of coconut
- 1/2 banana, chopped
- 3 oz. pineapple juice or pieces
Put ice in blender. Add guavaberry liqueur, cream of coconut, banana and pineapple or juice. Blend until smooth and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with slices of pineapple, banana, toasted coconut, fresh flowers and imagination. Grate fresh nutmeg over it.
- 1 tsp. superfine sugar
- 6 yerba buena leaves or 4 mint leaves
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 3 to 4 ice cubes
- 2 oz. Tortuga Light Rum
- Club soda
Put sugar and yerba buena (or mint) in the bottom of a rocks glass, add sugar and lime juice; muddle (crush with a spoon or muddler) and mix until the mint leaves are crushed and sugar is almost dissolved. Add the ice cubes, then the rum. Top with club soda to fill the glass, or to desired strength. Stir lightly again.
- 12 oz. pineapple juice
- 4 oz. cream of coconut
- Rum to taste
Barrachina’s secret: Do not use ice. Instead, freeze the juice and coconut cream, stirring occasionally, until well frozen. In a glass, pour rum to taste, and add frozen juice mixture. Serve garnished with a cherry and pineapple chunks.