Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | June 8, 2020

The Piña Colada

I don’t write here any more. It’s been about four years since my last post. In the interim, I’ve had a son, moved to California and moved back from California to Washington, DC. My preferential drinking has moved even further away from cocktails and towards wine. My bar socializing has tended towards neighborhood spots with friends and sports bars over craft cocktails (though fortunately some of my favorite local spots can make good drinks).

An odd perk of being a former cocktail blogger is that often when I am looking for a recipe or a bit of cocktail history, my own writing comes up in Google search results. It’s pretty convenient, actually. Or if there’s a recipe I’m looking for that I can bother to recall that I had written about previously, I’ll head straight here to conduct my search.

What’s odd is that one of the most frequent recipes that I look for is the Piña Colada recipe from the sadly defunct Lower East Side tiki bar opened by Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richie Boccato, Painkiller PK-NY. They were initially Painkiller, but then got sued by the folks at Pusser’s Rum, who absurdly held and enforced a trademark on that legendary BVI cocktail. Pusser’s even ended up taking their web domain.

It’s particularly unfortunate that the bar and their websites no longer exist, as Giuseppe and Richie had posted two epic pieces of cocktail research, explaining their experimentation and study of the history of the Piña Colada and the Daiquiri, respectively.

Fortunately, the internet never forgets. Here is the PK-NY Piña Colada recipe, as posted on their site when it existed:

At PKNY, we prepare our Piña Colada by combining the following ingredients in a blender:

1 1/2 oz. Aged Puerto Rican Rum

(The original may have called for silver or white rum, but we favor the depth of flavor that aged rum lends to the cocktail)

1 1/2 oz. Cream of Coconut

(If you do not want to make your own cream of coconut using the technique mentioned in this essay, a simple recipe for the home is 3 parts cream of coconut to 1 part coconut cream. This lightens the sweetness without diminishing the body).

1 1/2 oz. freshly extracted pineapple juice (Sadly, there is no substitute for this. With very few exceptions, we do not serve anything that we do not juice fresh in-house. One could certainly use unsweetened pineapple juice from a can and the results would be potable. HOWEVER, the canned alternative will NEVER yield a cocktail that compares to one that features freshly squeezed juice.)

Add four large chunks of pineapple.  Add approximately 8 ounces of crushed ice.  Blend for 45 seconds.  Strain into a cored out pineapple.  Garnish with shredded coconut, an orange slice, and a cherry.

And here is a more concise version for easy reading, which ran in an article at Liquor.com by the illustrious Simon Ford:

Painkiller Piña Colada

Contributed by Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richie Boccato

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 oz Aged Puerto Rican rum
  • 1.5 oz Pineapple juice
  • 1.5 oz Coconut cream
  • 2 Pineapple chunks
  • 6 to 10 Ice cubes
  • Garnish: Shredded coconut
  • Glass: Cored pineapple or Hurricane

PREPARATION:

Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a cored pineapple or Hurricane glass. Garnish with shredded coconut.

This is a fairly perfect Pina Colada recipe and one worth saving. Now at least I’ll be able to know where to find it when I’m in need of a refreshing Piña Colada.

Also worth saving, or at least making more easily accessible, is the two large pieces of research and experimentation conducted by the team at PK-NY. I’m copying it from the archived version of the site, in full, below the fold. Enjoy:

Pages: 1 2


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