The Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the focal point for two piña colada origin stories.
According to Discover Puerto Ricothree bartenders and two bars argue over who is the creator of Puerto Rico’s famed piña colada.
One story dates back to 1954, when Caribe Hilton Beachcomber’s bartender, Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, was commissioned to draft a signature cocktail for the hotel in San Juan. After three months of brainstorming and experimentation, he landed on the fruity, rum-based creation known as the piña colada.
However, another one of the hotel’s bartenders, Ricardo García, alleges he designed the piña colada the same year. García says he got creative during a coconut shortage and started adding pineapple into his mixed drinks.
Then, there’s a third origin story, but that does not take place inside a hotel bar. Bartender Ramón Portas Mignot says he created the tropical drink in 1963, when working at Barrachina, a bar in Old San Juan, Discover Puerto Rico reports.
Regardless of the individual creator, it’s safe to say the drink is a nod to all-things Puerto Rico. A popular tipple to this day, the piña colada was declared the official drink of the island in 1978, Forbes reported. And if you want to try what may be the original, swing by the bar at the Caribe Hilton, which serves piña colada that includes rum, coconut cream, heavy cream, and pineapple juice.