The history of how the pina colada came to be has gone through many variations over the years, but there are some common elements that have remained intact throughout time; it all starts with mixing together rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream or milk. The name "Pina Colada" comes from Spanish and translates as "strained pineapple" because the drink is made from pineapple juice and coconut cream.The Pina Colada, as we know it today, was created in 1954 by Puerto Rican bartender Ramon "Monchito" Marrero at the Caribe Hilton Hotel. The original pina colada was made with fresh pineapple juice, coconut cream, and Puerto Rican rum. The drink was introduced at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan around by Ramon Marrero, who created it for one of his customers, but the drink soon became popular among other guests on the island as well.In 1979, Hawaiians tried to have the "Pina Colada" declared as Hawaii's national drink for its ties to tourism. However, they weren't successful due to a technicality that stated any item named a national drink must be a non-alcoholic beverage. In 2001, the Pina Colada was named an official cocktail of Puerto Rico and it is typically served with or without alcohol. However, many bartenders have been known to "accidentally" omit this information from their recipe so that they can serve more alcoholic drinks. In fact, there are some bars that only make alcoholic versions and only make the non-alcoholic version of the Pina Colada if a customer makes a special request for it.Today's modern recipes for pina colada often call for coconut milk instead of coconut cream to create a stronger but less sweet taste which also comes through in lighter color than original recipes calling for pineapple juice instead of sugarcane syrup creating a sweeter version compared to earlier times.The recipe for the drink has evolved over time, with different bartenders experimenting and adding their own twist to create new variations of this cocktail. A popular variation is the Chambord colada which includes raspberry liqueur along with rum and pineapple juice. Another version that became increasingly popular in France in recent years adds rose syrup or grenadine, making it slightly sweeter than its original form while retaining all of the delicious characteristics of a good pina colada. In Latin America they are also known for using sugarcane syrup creating a sweeter version of it.In 1957, a friend of the pina colada's original inventor, Don Beach, later added milk and ice cream to the drink in an electric blender. He used his recipe to open his own bar called the Beachcomber. One of Don Beach's bartenders, Ramon Portas Mingot, won third place in a cocktail contest with this recipe for pina colada using cream instead of coconut ice cream and served it to judges during an appearance on a very popular show at that time.One of the most recent variations is actually using a pina colada liqueur when making the cocktail. The liqueur itself is made up of pineapple, rum and other ingredients, hence there isn’t much in terms of additional ingredients to be used when making a pina colada cocktail out of it. These special pina colada liqueurs can even be consumed neat over ice, but of course, would taste far better infused into a cocktail.Most people however, do prefer the classic pina Colada cocktail made from scratch and using the originally intended ingredients, sans any variations. It finally comes down to personal choices and tastes. This beverage is also a favourite at parties, because it brings to mind warm tropical island, sunsets and evenings by the sea. After all, what else do rum, coconut cream and pineapples remind you of, right?The popularity of the Pina Colada has spread globally because it is easy to make and refreshingly delicious. It also has a colourful history and interesting stories attached to it, so you many find it a fun topic to learn about and a fascinating conversation piece. Whether you like the original recipe of the cocktail or prefer one of its many variations, it will always be a firm favourite among many people.