Cana Rum Bar Asks: Piña Colada, Blended or Shaken?

Either way, everyone wins

National Piña Colada Day isn’t until next month, July 10, but Caña Rum Bar in Downtown L.A. is already giving you two delicious ways to enjoy your favorite vacation in a glass: blended or shaken.

In the pre-blender days of Caña, when they didn’t have the extra space to accommodate the machinery, the cocktail was served shaken. But once the blenders arrived, general manager Allan Katz insisted they serve the piña coladas the “traditional” way. “Should it be blended? Answer this: Would you stir a Daiquiri or shake a Manhattan?” he asked.

The problem was that his girlfriend and Cana GM Danielle Crouch thought the colada was just as delicious served over crushed ice, topped with Angostura bitters. In the end, they decided to compromise and offer both options to customers. Win! To this day, however, the staff is still divided on which version is better.

Looking back on the tropical drink’s history it has always been available both ways; Puerto Rican-style is blended and Cuban-style shaken. I tried both at Caña for good measure and found the blended one dangerously easy to suck down. It is a tad sweeter than its shaken counterpart and not as alcohol-y. The shaken one, however, is more flavorful and boozy while the Angostura contributes a spiciness to it. Right up my alley. I’d have the blended for daytime poolside drinking and the shaken for nighttime on the bar’s patio.

So how to make the perfect Piña Colada at home? Crouch says to make sure you use fresh pineapple juice, rather than the canned stuff. “It’s the difference between fresh, subtly sweet and the syrup in canned fruit cocktail”, she says. You can pick up fresh pineapple juice at your local juice bar, or if you’re desperate Crouch says Trader Joe’s 100 percent pineapple juice “is the closest you will come to fresh juice when you can’t do it yourself (say Piña Coladas when you are camping by the lake).”

Also make your own coconut cream by blending one part sweetened condensed milk and two parts fresh coconut water with meat from a fresh young Thai coconut. Then combine with one part Coco Lopez. Always refrigerate. It keeps for a week.

Blended Piña Colada
by Allan Katz and Danielle Crouch of Caña Rum Bar

1 oz Papa’s Pilar Blonde
1 oz Papa’s Pilar Dark
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
1.5 oz coconut cream
8-10 oz crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend. Pour into a Collins glass or Tiki mug and garnish with candied pineapple, umbrella, cherries, etc.

Shaken Piña Colada
by Allan Katz and Danielle Crouch of Caña Rum Bar

2 oz Don Q Añejo
1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 oz coconut cream
1 oz crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and whip shake. Pour into a Double Old Fashioned glass with densely-packed pebble ice shaped into a cone. Garnish with a couple small dashes of Angostura bitters.

Rum suggestions: Cana likes Papa’s Pilar for the blended as it’s vanilla-forward and sweeter, which that cocktail requires. For the shaken they recommend Bacardi 8.

By the way, Caña Rum Bar will be adding a slushie-machine Piña Colada to their upcoming summer menu. Even more options! Caña Rum Bar, 714 W Olympic Blvd, Downtown, 213-745-7090