With this summer serving up some of the hottest days on record — and predicted to keep getting warmer — we’re all looking for ways to cool off under the sun’s oppressive rays. And with their refreshing combination of rum, coconut, fruit juice, and ice, coladas are an ideal solution. They’re the perfect libation for afternoons spent lounging poolside — or in front of your air conditioner cranked up full-whack pretending you’re lounging poolside.
While the Piña Colada is arguably the most recognizable cocktail in the colada bunch, it’s certainly not the only one worth drinking. With such an easy build, coladas lend themselves to near-endless flavor combinations. So, if you’re looking for new ways to relax after a day spent sweating in the sun, here are 10 of the best colada recipes for summer.
The Piña Colada
It wouldn’t be a comprehensive colada list without featuring the one and only Piña Colada. Equally beloved in both its alcoholic and nonalcoholic forms, the cocktail has soared in popularity since its creation in the mid-20th century, cementing its status as one of the 50 most popular cocktails in the world. It’s easy to understand why: The frozen combination of white rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice is simply unbeatable in the steamy summer months.
The Colada Sunrise
As much of a joy to look at as it is to taste, the Colada Sunrise takes the traditional Piña Colada recipe and gives it an extra kick with the addition of mango juice and grenadine. The resulting cocktail is positively bursting with tropical fruit flavors that welcome you back for sip after sip.
The Basil Piña Colada
Pineapple reaches its peak ripeness in the summer, and basil’s season stretches from June to September, so why not pair the two warm-weather ingredients in something frozen? This variation of the classic adds basil, lime juice, and agave nectar to the traditional build, which helps the libation take on a more herbaceous, garden-fresh flavor. Plus, its gorgeous green color makes it perfect for the ‘gram.
The Hibiscus Colada
Piña Coladas certainly skew on the sweeter side, so for a more tame colada variation with a slightly earthy edge, the Hibiscus Colada is an ideal choice. By swapping the classic coconut cream for coconut yogurt, the drink takes on a lighter body, which is perfectly complemented by hibiscus simple syrup. And with a few dashes of cocktail bitters added to the mix, this colada takes on a delightful, slightly bitter edge that wonderfully balances the inherent sweetness of the cocktail.
The Spiced Piña Colada
This riff on the quintessential Piña heats things up a bit with the addition of spiced brown sugar syrup and several dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters. The spiced syrup gives the cocktail a succulent mouthfeel and brings out the vanilla and clove notes present in the rum. And when the bitters are dashed on the crushed ice, it creates an eye-popping layered effect that draws the eye — and the taste buds — right in.
The Viking Colada
Though the colada is mostly tied to tropical climates, this variation replaces rum with aquavit for a Nordic spin fit for a (vi)king. The Scandinavian spirit’s botanicals — coriander, caraway, and star anise — are emphasized by the addition of root beer syrup, which gives the cocktail a roasted characteristic. It’s balanced by classic crème de coconut while a bit of lime juice brightens everything up.
The Piña Verde
According to the drink’s creator Erick Castro, who debuted the cocktail at San Diego’s Polite Provisions in 2012, the Piña Verde seeks to bridge “the divide between the speakeasy and tiki.” This bridge is built by swapping out the classic Piña Colada’s rum base entirely for green Chartreuse. The unconventional base spirit transforms the cocktail, giving it herbaceous and floral undertones.
The Mai Mojito Colada
As the name suggests, this celebration of the tropics is a medley of three iconic tiki creations: the Mai Tai, the Mojito, and the Piña Colada. With a base of white rum and orange curaçao blending seamlessly with orange juice and coconut cream, the cocktail takes on an almost Creamsicle-like quality. For a green lift, mint sprigs and lime juice wake up the back palate.
The Miami Vice
While not a standard colada in terms of build, the Miami Vice is technically 50 percent Piña Colada, so we’ll let it slide. While we have no official proof of where the cocktail was created, the Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri hybrid has become a mainstay at beach bars and resorts the world over. Both frozen cocktails are blended up and combined with one another, making the Miami Vice an absolute fruit explosion that’s certain to keep you cool.
The Coco-Raspberry Colada
This variation of the Miami Vice swaps out strawberries for tart raspberries. To make your own, first combine raspberries, lime juice, and 1 ounce of rum to a cocktail shaker, then shake and strain over crushed ice in a Collins glass. Then combine cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and more rum in a clean shaker before shaking and straining over the raspberry mixture. The result is a layered, perfectly crushable summer sipper.