The Legend of the Piña Colada Was Born in Paradise


I love a good piña colada, especially during the summer.

The origins of the delectable drink (and how to drink it) have gotten murky ever since it became popular, however. The drink served as the inspiration to Escada’s newest limited edition fragrance, Born in Paradise. To celebrate the launch, we headed down to the homeland, San Juan, Puerto Rico to immerse ourselves in the inspiration’s culture — don’t worry, we’ll get to the entire trip soon! We toasted with the classic cocktail and throughout the trip asked residents where it emerged, but were surprised at the results.

We dined the first night of our sweet escape at Barrachina, the supposed birthplace of the cocktail. As the story goes, Ramón Portas entered a contest to craft a drink that featured newly launch Coco Lopez coconut cream. Portas was said to have beaten the rest of the bartenders on the island, and the company even placed a placard on the front of the restaurant announcing the achievement. They also recommended sipping the drink with Don Q rum and no ice whatsoever.

But apparently that’s not the only story, as during a tour through the Bacardi factory, master blender Joe Gomez as well as our tour guide dismissed Barrachina’s tale, insisting that a bartender from the Caribe Hilton Hotel (the first hotel chain to come to the island) had crafted the drink years before the Coco Lopez cream hit the market. They switched up the recipe, infusing Bacardi’s Superior rum into the mix, opting for fresh coconut milk in lieu of Coco Lopez and well as the shaking up the luscious libation with ice to chill it out.

Perhaps, we’ll never know for certain. But regardless of how you serve up the tropical drink, we’re happy to spritz on the scent before heading to happy hour!