People often describe the holy trinity of tropical drink ingredients as being rum, lime, and sugar. But with an irresistible mix of rum, pineapple, and coconut, the Piña Colada enters the chat and challenges that assumption. Given its tried-and-true yet constantly fluctuating ingredients and techniques for building it, the Piña Colada is the so-called “pizza of cocktails.”

Despite that, the Piña Colada is not an easy drink to master, inspiring today’s conversation about how it’s oddly hard to get the best version of drinks at the bar that birthed them. Furthermore, while it might be easy to find a delicious Piña Colada at a sticky-floored dive bar or Miami Beach Daiquiri shack, getting a balanced iteration at a Top 50 Best Bar might prove more difficult. Even though riffs and experimentation are always welcome, simplicity is key in this one.

Today on the “Cocktail College” podcast, Tim McKirdy is joined by Joey Smith, bar director at New York’s Chez Zou to discuss the Piña Colada. Smith, infamous for ordering a Piña Colada at nearly every bar he goes to, has an Instagram page dedicated to chronicling his colada cocktails. The two dissect the theories of how the cocktail came to be the national drink of Puerto Rico, the versatility of the cocktail, and blending techniques. Tune in for more.

Listen Online

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Joey Smith’s Frozen Piña Colada Recipe (10 liter batch)


  • 625 milliliters Cruzan Black Strap
  • 640 milliliters fresh lime juice
  • 1,200 milliliters water
  • 1,875 milliliters Bacardí Ocho
  • 2,500 milliliters house coconut syrup
  • 3,200 milliliters pineapple juice


  1. Add all ingredients to a frozen drinks machine.
  2. Serve in a hurricane glass with arak-soaked raisins.