The song is really titled “Escape.” Is it time for you to escape to an island, relax on the beach, and sip a delicious piña colada while listening to the ocean waves? It was almost a year ago that we were enjoying our escape to the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The piña coladas were plentiful and delicious. It was also before our low-carb lifestyle began. Finding a low-carb piña colada recipe has been a challenge. We think we finally have one that will offer the same flavor and virtually without carbs!
The Original Piña Colada
Piña Colada translates to “strained pineapple” since the original recipe calls for pineapple juice. It is made with rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. It is usually mixed with plenty of ice in a blender to yield a frothy, creamy, milk shake consistency of delicious flavor. Piña coladas are sweet drinks – perfect for the sun and the beach.
Since 1978 it has been the national drink of Puerto Rico. Like many specialty drinks there are numerous stories as to the origin. Many will take credit for creating any classic drink. Two bartenders in Puerto Rico claim ownership of the original recipe. Ramón Marrero Pérez claims to have made the first at the Caribe Hilton in 1954. However, Ramón Portas Mingot claims he created it at “Barrachina Restaurant” in Old San Juan in 1963. We visited “Barrachina” on our trip and sampled their piña colada. The restaurant is beautiful and it was a nice memory to sit at their bar knowing that it is where it may have originated. Old San Juan is a wonderful destination for any vacation.
The Rupert Holmes song from 1979 is generally known as “The Piña Colada Song” and it certainly spread the popularity of the drink world wide. Music and memories seem to go together. The song becomes linked to the drink when you are at the beach. It is difficult to sip on one without hearing the words and melody in your head!
Our Low Carb Version
Our first step to mastering the perfect low carb piña colada was to recognize that you need great rum! We like a mixture of light and dark rum. Light rum is fermented in steel casks and has a sweeter flavor than dark or amber rum. Dark rums are fermented in oak barrels and that produces the darker caramel color and a much deeper flavor.
Puerto Rican rum is famous, but many believe the best dark rums come from Barbados. We agree and like to use Kaniché XO. The rum is aged for 11 years and begins its journey in oak bourbon casks in Barbados. It is then shipped to France to age in cognac casks, bottled, and exported throughout the world. It is delicious and has a smooth aroma. The best part is it is not at all expensive. For around $30 for a bottle you will have a wonderful flavor for your piña colada.
We use a 50-50 ratio of light and dark rum. If you like a bolder oak flavor adjust the blend to favor the darker rum.
We like a frothy creamy drink so we use heavy whipping cream and tend to let our blender do its magic for a longer spin. The creamier the better! We also use plenty of ice to keep our mixture cool and delicious – really necessary here in the Southwest.
The key ingredient that eliminates the carbs and maintains the taste is one of today’s magical water enhancers. Although there are many labels, De Sani makes a perfect pineapple-coconut water enhancer. One teaspoon will do the trick. You will swear it tastes exactly like you used fresh pineapple and coconut cream. The best part is you will have a tasty low carb drink with virtually no carbs – approximately 3 times less than the lightest beer on the market. Amazing!
We garnish our piña colada with pineapple and use a glass rimmed with toasted coconut. Just use unsweetened coconut flakes that have been lightly toasted in a small skillet, until slightly browned. We do not eat the pineapple, but it does add to the presentation!
Mix up a pitcher of this tasty concoction, turn on some Rupert Holmes to sing along, close your eyes and imagine you have your own “Escape” with a low-carb piña colada and the sun!
Low Carb Piña Colada
- 3 ounces light rum
- 3 ounces dark rum (Rum from Barbados is best)
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- 8 ounces water
- 1 teaspoon pineapple-coconut water enhancer
- 12 ounces ice cubes
- Place the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend on high until smooth and creamy - heavy cream will become thickened and alcohol will drift to the bottom of your glass.
- Rim a cocktail glass with toasted coconut flakes and garnish with a pineapple.