Ditch the blender and make Piña Colada on the Rocks instead. It’s the classic pineapple, coconut, and rum cocktail — just served over ice! You’ll love how easy these shaken piña coladas are to make!
What Is a Piña Colada?
The International Bartenders Association (IBS) defines a piña colada as a “Contemporary Classic” cocktail containing rum, cream of coconut, fresh pineapple juice, and optional lime juice.
Piña coladas are thoguht to have been invented in the mid-1950s by a barman at the Caribe Hilton in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, named Ramon “Monchito” Marrero.
The term “Piña Colada” means “strained pineapple” — a reference to the blended fresh pineapple in the drink.
In the 1970s, piña coladas started being made with pre-made mixers instead of fresh ingredients. So, unfortunately it’s possible you’ve been served a sickly sweet piña colada in the past at restaurants for this very reason!
If you’ve never drank a piña colada before, you’re in for a treat. Go ahead and play Rupert Holmes’ Piña Colada Song and get shaking!
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What Makes This Shaken Piña Colada Recipe Unique
This shaken piña colada recipe deviates somewhat from the classic cocktail. As previously mentioned, this cocktail is served over ice (on the rocks) rather than being blended.
I also added a few extra ingredients to this piña colada recipe. In addition to rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and lime juice, I included coconut milk and Angostura Bitters.
The resulting rum cocktail is incredibly refreshing, with a distinct pineapple-coconut flavor.
Tools Needed to Make a Piña Colada on the Rocks
If your bar cart isn’t already fully stocked, I recommend purchasing the following to make homemade piña coladas on the rocks:
- Shaker — I like to measure the ingredients directly into the shaker.
- Strainer for shaker — Most cocktail shaker sets come with a strainer included, but double check that you have on.
- Jigger — For measuring out drink ingredients.
Ingredients for a Shaken Piña Colada
My version of a shaken piña colada is slightly lighter than the traditional cocktail because I used a blend of both cream of coconut and regular coconut milk. There’s still plenty of sweet and fruity flavors in this cocktail, though!
To make a homemade piña colada on the rocks, you’ll need the following:
- Crushed Ice
- White Rum
- Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
- Coconut Milk
- Fresh Pineapple Juice
- Lime juice
- Angostura Bitters
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
What’s the Best Rum for Piña Coladas?
Choosing a specific rum for your bar cart is incredibly subjective, but as a general rule of thumb you’ll want to look for a rum that’s not spiced if you plan on making piña coladas.
Light rum is the most common choice for piña coladas. This rum variety has a subtler, sweeter flavor than golden or dark rums.
You’ll definitely be able to taste the rum in this cocktail, but it won’t overpower the pineapple and coconut flavors.
Cream of Coconut vs Coconut Cream
It’s very important to note that homemade piña coladas are made with cream of coconut, NOT coconut cream.
Coconut cream is unsweetened. It’s essentially coconut milk that contains a higher amount of coconut solids. A thick layer of cream forms at the top of the can and you can skim it off to use in drinks, curries, and so forth.
Please note that these two coconut products are NOT interchangeable.
How to Make a Piña Colada on the Rocks
If you’re looking to level up your rum cocktail game, make a shaken piña colada! It looks and tastes impressive, but it takes mere moments to prepare.
Here’s how to make piña coladas without a blender:
- Fill a shaker with crushed ice.
- Add the rum, cream of coconut, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and lime juice.
- Place the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
- Fill each glass with crushed ice. Divide the piña colada mixture between glasses.
- Add angostura bitters to each glass, a dusting of cinnamon, and desired garnishes.
The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Tips for Making the Best Piña Colada
- Use 100% pure pineapple juice: Fresh pressed is best if you can find it, or juice it yourself using a juicer. Don’t use from concentrate or pineapple-flavored juices or else your piña colada will taste far too sweet.
- Purchase quality alcohol: It will be an investment up front, but purchasing quality spirits to build your home bar is always a good investment. Enjoying cocktails at home is so much cheaper than purchasing out anyways! Think of how many you can make at home for the amount of alcohol vs. spending $10+ on one drink out.
- Use freshly squeezed lime juice: Fresh lime juice is far superior to bottled. Be sure to read my tips for getting the most juice from your limes.
- Don’t confuse coconut cream for cream of coconut: You’ll need cream of coconut for this cocktail, which is a sweetened, syrupy product. Coconut cream is unsweetened and won’t deliver the same flavor.
- Use quality cream of coconut: Some brands of cream of coconut taste too artificial or too sweet. Buy from a good brand, like Coco Lopez or Coco Real.
Piña Colada Recipe FAQs
Is a piña colada shaken or stirred?
This recipe is shaken, but piña coladas are typically blended.
Can I make this recipe blended?
Sure! To do so, add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
What type of glass do you serve a piña colada in?
Piña coladas are often served in hurricane glasses, especially when they’re blended. If you don’t have hurricane glasses, you can use highball or lowball glasses instead.
Or, hollow out a fresh pineapple to create a DIY pineapple cup!
Tip: Insulated cocktail glasses are great for backyard patio parties or lounging by the pool since they keep your drink from getting warm or the ice from melting too quickly.
What are piña coladas garnished with?
The classic piña colada garnishes are a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.
Other garnishes to try include: lime slices or wedges, pineapple frond, and / or a cocktail umbrella.
Do you serve over ice?
A shaken piña colada should be served over ice. We prefer to use crushed or nugget ice.
We have this countertop nugget ice maker and we love it!
What can I substitute for rum in a piña colada?
A piña colada is a classic rum cocktail, but you may substitute the rum for another spirit to transform it into another drink.
- If you substitute the rum with vodka, the cocktail is called a Chi Chi.
- If you substitute the rum with tequila, the drink is called a tequila colada.
How to Make Pitcher Piña Coladas
You can make a pitcher of shaken piña coladas up to 48 hours in advance. Store the cocktail mixture in the fridge until ready to serve but do NOT add ice to the pitcher.
You’ll want to add ice to the individual glasses and pour the piña colada mixture over the ice.
To prepare a pitcher of shaken piña coladas, measure out the ingredients below using ratios rather than ounces or tablespoons.
How to Make a Shaken Piña Colada Mocktail
Alcohol-free spirits are a wonderful alternative if you’re sober curious or don’t consume alcohol.
I’ve never made this piña colada on the rocks with alcohol-free spirits so I can’t speak to the exact taste, but here are some highly rated non-alcoholic spirits you can try out:
You could also replace the rum with water that’s been mixed with a splash of rum extract. Or, simply omit the rum entire for a piña colada mocktail!
Safety tip: Depending on the brand you use, some alcohol-removed spirits may still contain trace amounts of alcohol. Check before using if you’re pregnant, serving the mocktails to kids, etc.
What to Serve with a Piña Colada
Your piña colada on the rocks is begging to be served with your favorite Mexican apps and entrees, like nachos, burrito bowls, chips and guac, and more!
Make it a full Mexican feast by serving one of more of the following:
- Chicken, Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas
- Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Gravy
- Flank Steak Fajitas
- Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
- Chicken Tacos
- Basic Guacamole
- Cinnamon Chips and Fruit Salsa
- Black Bean Salad
- Easiest Nachos
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Grilled Chicken Walking Tacos
Try this Easy Piña Colada Recipe!
Next time you’re looking for a fun pineapple cocktail, give this shaken piña colada a try!
Did you think it was the perfect summertime drink? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this piña colada recipe.
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this piña colada!
Sherri says –
“I made this without the bitters and garnishes – it was awesome! Thanks for the recipe!”
More Drinks Using Pineapple:
Pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice infuse this Pineapple Margarita with refreshing summer flavors. Make a small batch or prepare in a pitcher for parties!
Strong, tart, and slightly sweet, a Mai Tai Cocktail is a classic rum cocktail that will transport you straight to the tropics!
Another fun pineapple cocktail recipe is this recipe for Fresh Pineapple Mint Moscow Mules.
This Pineapple Cooler is so refreshing on a hot summer day and tastes great with your favorite taco recipe! If you prefer an adult beverage version of this pineapple mocktail, this pineapple drink pairs well with tequila, rum, or vodka as a spirit choice – instructions included!
In this recipe for Sparkling Pineapple Mint Juice, fresh ripe pineapples are blended with mint leaves and combined with sparkling water over plenty of ice. The perfect refreshing summer drink, sans alcohol!
The flavors of strawberry, sweet pineapple, and coconut together in this Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie make it taste a little bit like a strawberry colada – only much healthier!
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Have you ever had a Shaken Piña Colada?
- Crushed Ice
- 5 ounces White Rum
- 1 ½ ounces Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
- 1 ½ ounces Coconut Milk
- 5 ounces Fresh Pineapple Juice
- ½ a lime, squeezed
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters per glass
- Dash Ground Cinnamon
- Pineapple Wedges
- Pineapple Leaves
- Lime Wedges or Wheels
- Fill a shaker with crushed ice. Then, add the rum, cream of coconut, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and lime juice.
- Place the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
- Fill each glass with crushed ice (or we love nugget ice!). Divide piña colada between glasses.
- Then, add angostura bitters to each glass, a dusting of cinnamon, and desired garnishes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 692Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 204mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 12gSugar: 46gProtein: 8g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.