classic Pina Colada recipe

How to make a classic pina colada. An easy, basic recipe that is the start of the best pina colada classic cocktail.

Many people claim to have the best pina colada recipe, and some of them really are great recipes.  But the problem with those recipes is they often require dozens of ingredients and some pretty mean cocktail making skills.  So, rather than giving you what we think is the best pina colada, we are going to give you the best basic, classic version of this drink that you can build on as you gain more skills.

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A pina colada is actually an incredibly simple drink to make.  It uses 3 ingredients, with the same ratios (nice!) and a shaker.  You just dump that together and shake it on up.  Tada!  And even though this simple version might not be the best pina colada in the history of the world, it is still a pretty dang good one.  Really!  Try it once and you’ll agree.

Some tricks to making these the best pina coladas possible:

  1. Coconut cream thickens in the fridge and gets a weird consistency.  Either put your bottle in the microwave for a few seconds or run it under hot water to thin it out.  Be sure to give the bottle a good shake before adding anything to your drinks.  If you have a hard time finding coconut cream, buy it online here.
  2. The recipe calls for white rum, but coconut Malibu is even better!  It’ll give you an even more concentrated coconut flavor.
  3. Be sure you shake your cocktail really well.  That coconut cream is thick, so if you don’t shake your pina colada well enough the cream won’t be incorporated into the drink.  No one wants giant clumps of cream at the bottom of their glass!

If you want to go fancier, here are a few options:

  1. Blend it.  Add some ice to the blender, dump your ingredients in, and blend that drink on up.  This version is great for summer parties because it’s cooler, fancier, and actually weakens the drink as the ice melts so you won’t go through as much alcohol.
  2. Fancy glasses.  We just used a wine glass because that’s what we had on hand, but you could buy glasses specifically for your pina coladas.
  3. Extra garnishes.  Pineapple slices, fun straws, umbrellas, etc. are all additional ways to class-up your best pina colada.
How to make a classic pina colada. An easy, basic recipe that is the start of the best pina colada classic cocktail.

Classic Pina Colada

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  • 3 ounces white rum
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons coconut cream
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • Place your ingredients in a cocktail shaker
  • Add ice
  • Shake well
  • Strain into your cocktail glass
  • Garnish with pineapple slice


You can find coconut cream with the cocktail making ingredients in the grocery store. You can use coconut milk, but your drink will be thinner and won't have as concentrated a coconut flavor.

For more classic cocktail recipes and tips for making them well, try our how-to’s on making:

Bloody Mary
Manhattan and Old Fashioned
Moscow Mule (Unicorn)
Lemon Drop
Skinny Margarita

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