Cuban Pina Colada
Something I always wanted to do was travel. I’ve felt that way since I was a small child, with very few aversions (I wasn’t taken with deserts, which may seem odd and I am part Arabian). I loved water, and growing up on the East Coast, islands were very appealing to me.
Cuba was always a land of total mystery. The Bay of Pigs occurred when I was barely born, and my only other exposure to anything Cuban was Desi Arnaz. I loved his music, his accent and joy while performing with his orchestra.
Many years later when the Buena Vista Social Club documentary came out, I was obsessed. I bought the soundtrack before even noticing that the company I worked for distributed the CDs. No matter! I didn’t regret the purchase and those beautiful performances are still on my playlists.
A few years ago, the doors to Cuba opened to Americans and it nudged into my top five for travel. A few weeks ago, I finally got there!
My first night in Havana was filled with two very long tourist excursions, one of which brought me to a jazz club. Here I would enjoy the live performances of two of the Buena Vista Social Club. They were backed up by fantastically talented younger musicians, and the passion for tradition was intact. That night meant the world to me and was the chief reason I wanted to travel to Havana, as soon as possible.
But…we all get thirsty.
The first day tour I took was with a very knowledgeable woman, who’s mastery of history and salsa dancing was formidable. We stopped at one of the many forts along with Havana shoreline, and took advantage of the small carts on the roadside selling drinks.
I’m not a day drinker. I’m barely a drinker at all, but I was fascinated with this tradition and was wilting in the strong sun. We all went with Pina Coladas. Many of the places we had visited earlier in the day gave us mojitos as a courtesy, so it was time to change things up.
The cart was so tiny, that it barely held two people at a time. Each drink was made quickly and served in genuine glassware. I was so tempted to keep the glass but returned it. To be honest, we all talked about that drink the rest of the trip!
So, what’s the big deal about a Cuban Pina Colada? It’s light, super refreshing and not sickeningly sweet. I made it myself last night to see if I could replicate the most refreshing cocktail I ever had, and it came out great! It’s a simple drink and so light. Let me show you!
1 teaspoon per serving of Cream of Coconut
½ cup of ice
1 jigger of Rum
Cinnamon to taste
In a blender, add the Ice, Cream of Coconut, and Coconut Water. Blend until smooth and frothy.
Pour into a glass, and top with Rum.
Add a sprinkle of Cinnamon on top.
Put on some awesome Cuban Music and salsa!
So, where’s the pineapple? I don’t know but everyone bartender in Cuba I spoke to denied ever using such a thing. You don’t miss it one little bit.
How much Coconut Water? I used a 17.6 ounce can of Goya Coconut Water and it has flecks of fresh coconut in it, as did the drink I had in Havana. It was the perfect amount for two drinks.
When asked if we wanted Cinnamon on top, we were surprised at the suggestion but said yes. I never expected how deliciously it would complement the drink. It. Was. Perfect. Give it a try. It’s a nice surprise.
You don’t have to add Rum and can make a pitcher of “virgin” Cuban Pina Coladas.
Your friends can add their own Rum to their glasses, if you serve the pitcher “virgin”.
If you do make a pitcher, serve it a soon as possible after being blended so each pour has a frothed top.
If you serve it later, keep it in the blender and give it a few whirls before serving to be sure that it’s properly mixed.