When people ask me what my favorite cocktail is (notice I didn't say drink because...wine....) I always want to say something cool like, "sidecar" or "negroni" or "whiskey sour." You know, something that would make me a "cool girl." As far as drinks go I don't like them sweet. I prefer dry wines, I don't like electric pink cocktails, and even my coffee is better without sugar. But I have a guilty pleasure, and it's Pina Coladas. I'm a huge coconut fan so I'm sure that has something to do with it, but I think it's just that when I sip them, it's instant summer. The other day I went to Yoga and then had a Pina Colada (not on the cape but certainly next to a New England ocean). I also love champagne. What I'm getting at is that clearly I am the chick from the song "Escape" I would have totally answered that ad. At any rate, I love Pina Coladas, but my midsection doesn't. I knew if I was going to be sipping them throughout the warmer months, I was going to have to make some compromises. What follows is my low calorie hack, but just for fun I'll also include my favorite mix if you're going that route, and also how to make them fresh if you're being "extra" (Did I use that right? Is that how the kids say it these days?) Anyway, grab a beverage and meet me at the tiki bar...er I mean the kitchen....
Okay before we get to the healthy stuff I'm going to walk you through what to do if you want the real deal. Because let's be honest, once in a while it's good for the soul to have the non-low cal deliciously rich real thing, right?
If you want to just whip them up easily, the obvious thing to use is a mix. Now this is where I want you to pay attention. Those store bought mixes are garbage. The fake sugar flavor just kills me. If you are going to use a mix, the only one I have found that I love is the Island Oasis mix. It's what they use at most of the resorts and beach bars. I'm not going to lie, it's a little pricy. It's also hard to get. You can order it directly from them, but shipping is pretty high. If you have Amazon, you can get it on there too. It's not outrageous, but it's not as cheap as a four dollar mixer from the grocery store. It's worth it though. You will never go back to the other mix. It's as close to fresh as I've found. It's sweet but not too sweet and well balanced. Add either coconut or pineapple rum, blend it up and you're good to go!
What if you want to make a real Pina Colada though. You know, like you were reallly sitting on an island somewhere and had coconuts available. Well, they are actually easier than you think. You need to get some Cream of Coconut. You can find it at any grocery store. You also need pineapple Juice (if you want to be real deal fresh you can cut up a pineapple and use chunks of pineapple) and rum. Again, I like a flavored rum (coconut or pineapple) but you may just like regular white rum in it. It's equal parts rum and cream of coconut and pineapple to taste (more makes it sweeter) I'd say around a 1/2 cup of cut up pineapple per serving but again its all preference. Blend them together, and you've got a real deal Pina Colada!
Those are great, but they aren't why you're here. You want the guilt free version. So here it is. You need Pineapple Juice, Coconut Rum, and Coconut Seltzer water (I'm obsessed with La Croix and think it has the closest flavor so I'd recommend that).
I do this over ice, but I suppose you could blend if you so desired. I add coconut rum (I do think you need the flavored for this because you're not using a strong coconut flavor) over ice, splash pineapple juice for a little flavor, and then top with coconut seltzer water. Give it a quick mix and you've got a low-cal version. Let's be honest, it's not going to have the creaminess of the real thing (hello calories) but it will have the flavor. I put it in a big tumbler and bring it to the beach. It's actually really refreshing and while it isn't the real thing, it certainly does the trick. In some ways I prefer it when it's really hot. The fizz from the seltzer gives it a little something and it's just sweet enough but not too sweet. Obviously the more pineapple juice or rum you add the more caloric it will be, but it's easier to regulate than if you used a mix. Make sure you buy "0" calorie seltzer water.
So that's it, super easy. Do you have any summer drink hacks for guilt free sipping? I'd love to hear!