The Original Piña Colada Comes From a Slushy Machine? is part of the Despacito! TPOL Moves to Puerto Rico Trip Report.
If you know TPOL, you know that TPOL loves piña coladas. They are God’s gift to me. I’ve had them all over the world and put together a ranking of the best ones in the world, a list that has to be updated (see Top Piña Coladas on Earth). When I went to Puerto Rico, on top of my to-do list, was to have a piña colada at the bar where it was created. I thought that was the Caribe Hilton, but this plaque and the adjoining restaurant claim that it was created at the current site of Restaurant Barrachina. .
After I sat down, I asked the waiter the Alexander Graham Bell – ‘who invented the telephone?’ – question. She insisted that the original piña colada was made at this restaurant and that the plaque given by the Puerto Rican government settles the argument. She conceded that the Caribe Hilton also had a plaque but stated that their plaque was purchased.
Up to speed on the history of the drink and the rivalry, I ordered one original piña colada. In a matter of seconds, the waiter returned with my drink. The moment of truth had arrived. But before I could taste God’s goodness, I had to put hedonism on hold and take pictures for the blog. I could blame it on the poor lighting, but the picture on the brochure and my drink did not look all that similar.
Done with the photographs, it was time to drink. Approaching it like a bowl of pho, I gently took a sip and waited for that tingling sensation in mis pantalones. It was good but not surprisingly similar to other piña coladas I’ve had around the globe. The one discernable difference was the pineapple/coconut ratio. This one favored pineapple to coconut. I prefer more coconut. Satisfied that I had now accomplished everything I wanted to do in life, I ordered a beer and continued to indulge.
Just as I was beginning to get buzzed, a person at my table, a journalist by trade, alerted me to the slushy machines at the bar. She wondered if the piña coladas were premade and went to investigate. She returned with the terrible news: the mix is premade. The only manual component is the addition of the rum.
I was devastated. How can the place that claims to have invented the piña colada disgrace the inventor by automating the process? Simultaneously, how do they have the audacity to have their dirty secret out on full display? Qué lástima!
Due to Hurricane Maria, the Caribe Hilton is under renovation, so I could not do a comparison nor could I get the Hiltons’ side of the story. However, from what I saw when W. Kamau Bell visited Puerto Rico, I know that their piña coladas are made fresh.