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The Origin of the Pina Colada in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Updated: Jan 10

When it comes to iconic tropical beverages, few drinks evoke the spirit of paradise quite like the piña colada. This luscious cocktail, with its blend of coconut, pineapple, and rum, is synonymous with leisurely afternoons and balmy evenings under the sun. What you may not know is that the piña colada has a storied history that traces its origins to the captivating streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. In this blog post, we'll delve into the fascinating history of the pina colada and explore the establishments that lay claim to its invention.

The Birth of a Classic Cocktail

Pina Cola

The origins of the piña colada can be traced back to the 1950s in San Juan, where it is said to have been first mixed and served. This delightful concoction, blending the flavors of coconut cream, fresh pineapple juice, and Puerto Rican rum, quickly gained popularity and became a beloved symbol of the island's vibrant culture and leisurely lifestyle.

Barrachina: A Claim to Fame

One of the most prominent establishments associated with the invention of the piña colada is Barrachina, a historic restaurant nestled in the heart of Old San Juan. According to legend, in 1963, Ramón "Monchito" Marrero Pérez, a bartender at Barrachina, concocted the first piña colada, creating a sensation that would captivate imbibers around the world. Today, Barrachina proudly displays a plaque commemorating this momentous achievement and continues to serve its renowned version of the classic cocktail to visitors from near and far.

Caribe Hilton: A Rival Claim

In addition to Barrachina, the Caribe Hilton hotel in San Juan also lays claim to the invention of the piña colada. According to their account, the piña colada was first mixed by bartender Ramón "Monchito" Marrero in 1954 at the hotel's Beachcomber Bar, predating the claim of Barrachina. This competing claim adds an intriguing layer to the cocktail's history, sparking friendly debate among enthusiasts and aficionados.

Savoring the Piña Colada in Old San Juan

As you wander through the enchanting streets of Old San Juan, you'll have the opportunity to savor the timeless allure of the piña colada at both Barrachina and the Caribe Hilton. By visiting these esteemed establishments, you'll not only have the chance to enjoy this classic cocktail in the very place where it was allegedly first crafted but also to immerse yourself in the captivating history and ambiance of these iconic locales.


The piña colada stands as a delicious embodiment of the spirit of Old San Juan, encapsulating the island's tropical essence and the art of leisurely indulgence. Whether you choose to sip this beloved cocktail at Barrachina or the Caribe Hilton, you'll be toasting to a legacy of flavor, invention, and the timeless allure of Puerto Rico's vibrant culture.

So, raise a glass, savor the sweetness, and celebrate the captivating history of the piña colada in Old San Juan. Cheers to a taste of paradise!

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