The Rum Brand Used In The Original Piña Colada Recipe

If you love sweet tropical fruit and have been known to enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time, then chances are you're a fan of tiki cocktails. This genre of icy, fruity, rum-spiked tropical cocktails got its start in southern California in 1933, when Ernest Gantt opened the first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, serving a variety of fruity "Rhum Rhapsodies" (via The New York Times). A few years later, Trader Vic's opened in northern California, and over the next few decades, the successful bars multiplied across the country and around the world.

Classic tiki drinks you might know of include the Painkiller, a mix of fruit juices, rum, and coconut cream, the Mai Tai, a blend of orange juice, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup, and light and dark rums, and the Piña Colada. Sometimes referred to as "the most beloved cocktail to emerge from the tiki era" (via Eater), the cool slushie of cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and white rum isn't a tiki drink at all. While its ingredients and flavors are certainly tiki-like, the drink predates the tiki craze that really hit full stride in the 60s, and it wasn't born in California like true tiki drinks.

The Piña Colada was first blended in Puerto Rico and included Bacardi Gold rum

The cool, sweet, tropical drink known as the Piña Colada might taste like tiki, but its origins are purely Puerto Rican. Although definitively invented in San Juan, the island's capital, the Piña Colada's origins are still hotly debated, according to Discover Puerto Rico, with three bartenders from two of the island's hotels laying claim to it. Yet the most plausible story, according to Travel + Leisure, is that Caribe Hilton bartender Ramón "Monchito" Marrero first whizzed a Piña Colada through his blender at the luxury hotel in 1954. 

The original recipe contained just five ingredients: Coco Lopez coconut cream, heavy cream, pineapple juice, crushed ice, and, of course, rum. According to the Caribe Hilton, which is still in operation today, the original rum used — and still the hotel's top pick — is Bacardi Gold, a "light golden rum with a soft oak flavor," according to Bacardi's official website. "The gold rum and cream are sweet like sugar when combined, but the pineapple is what brings it all together," Caribe Hilton bartender Héctor Santos López told Travel + Leisure. And though many variations on the classic have been blended over the years, López said that in his opinion, the classic still stands the test of time. "The original is my favorite — it's what everyone always asks for."