Bar Talk: A hand-shaken Piña Colada takes the edge off springtime snow
The joys of springtime in Colorado. One day it’s 75 degrees and you’re hiking in shorts and a t-shirt and the next day it’s barely 32 and snowing from sun-up to sun-down.
That scenario is exactly what we experienced in Aspen recently (the snow started falling on Friday, May 20), and while the moisture was welcome, the cold was not.
In order to distract myself from the snowfall outside and to cheers to the weekend ahead, I went to my bar shelf on that snowy Friday to see what drink I could craft that would put me in a warmer and maybe even summer state of mind.
Luckily, I had been saving shaking up a summer-time classic for a moment just like this, so I grabbed a bottle of Don Q Reserva 7, unearthed some canned ingredients from the pantry and pulled out the recipe for a hand-shaken piña colada.
This is a simple and un-involved recipe that is great for anyone to try, especially beginning home bartenders. It requires four simple ingredients that can be pantry/bar cart staples, utilizes one bar tool, a shaker, which you can easily find a substitute in your kitchen for such as a mason jar with a lid, and requires two simple steps: shake and serve. Basically, it’s the perfect “I’m-feeling-lazy-but-want-a-tiki-like-drink-and-not-have-to-work-too-hard-for-it” homemade cocktail.
I chose to use the Puerta Rican Don Q Reserva 7 rum in this shaken piña colada for a few reasons. First, the recipe is from Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s official tourism website that will be back at the upcoming Food & Wine Classic, so I felt like staying authentic to the recipe was important. Second, Don Q rum is an affordable, mid-priced rum available locally that is not overly sweet or spicy, making it a good addition to mixed drinks. Third, I’m part Puerto Rican, so again refer to the first reason with staying on-brand and authentic.
The Don Q Reserva 7 is one of 13 rums distilled by Don Q and is made from a blend of rums that have been aged for a minimum of seven years in American White Oak barrels. It is 40% ABV with notes of vanilla, caramel and oak in its aroma and a vanilla-forward taste on the palette with hints of a slightly sweet spice (but no spicy burn) as it goes down.
When mixed with pineapple juice, cream of coconut and coconut water (I fudged a little and just used the liquid from the coconut can in lieu of coconut water), the result is a refreshing albeit sweet cocktail that immediately transports you to a warm, beachy climate.
The shaken piña colada is creamy and balanced. The acid from the pineapple is cut by the cream of coconut, giving it an almost orgeat texture and taste, and the hint of spice from the rum brightens the drink up while the vanilla blends in to the taste and texture perfectly.
While I could happily drink one or two of these, as is the case with most tiki and tropical drinks, after that I’d need to move on to a less sweet and textured drink.
Overall, this was a fun and easy cocktail to make that I am going to add to my summer drink arsenal and did the job to take away the snowy springtime blues.
Hand-Shaken Piña Colada
Recipe by Discover Puerto Rico
1 ½ oz Don Q Reserva 7 (or any rum)
2 ½ oz Coconut water
¾ oz Cream of coconut
1 ½ oz Pineapple juice
Place ice in a shaker, add all ingredients. Shake well and serve in a glass of your choice.
Optional: Garnish with a slice of dehydrated pineapple.
Makes one drink.
“2023 predicted to be the Vintage of a Lifetime in Napa Valley,” proclaimed the headline this week in a press release sent out by the Napa Valley Vintners, the trade organization that represents the growers and producers in America’s most famed wine region. If there is anyone more optimistic than winemakers, it is the group that represents them.