Let us begin shall we? So, a Puerto Rican Pirate and Three Puerto Rican Bartenders…hey-hey now, this is not the beginning of some sketchy joke, people!! This begins the tale of the birth of the so festively fresh, creamy and delicious Pina Colada. Let’s get one thing straight – the story of this #TBT cocktail is no punchline, rather a short but sweet tale that provides a glimpse into one the world’s most exotic cocktails.

So, as I was saying… a Puerto Rican Pirate and three Puerto Rican bartenders…contest the ownership of Puerto Rico’s national drink! Let’s study the deets:

Dating back to the 19th century, Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí, to boost his crew’s morale, gave them a beverage or cocktail that contained coconut, pineapple and white rum. This was what would be later known as the famous piña colada. With his death in 1825, the recipe for the piña colada was lost — so was this written on a map somewhere???

It seems possible, right? We’ve got pirates, rum, fresh coconuts and pineapple from whatever island they happened upon, easy right? Maybe not…

Remember those three bartenders??

Bartender #1 – Ramón ‘Monchito’ Marrero Pérez claims to have first made his Pina Colada at the Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan on August 15,1952, using the then newly-available coco lópez cream of coconut. Coco lópez was developed in Puerto Rico in 1948 by Don Ramón López-Irizarry, hence the Puerto Rican connection and the 1952 account of the drink’s creation. Some say the drink did not acquire its name until the 1960s.

Bartender #2 – Ricardo García, who also worked at the Caribe, says that it was he who invented the drink, while bartender #3 – Ramón Portas Mingot says he created it in 1963 at the Barrachina Restaurant, in Old San Juan. The restaurant stands by his claim to this day.

So WHO KNOWS! What do we know? It’s name means “strained pineapple,” and it’s made with some of the world’s most desirable dark and white rums born from the sugar canes of Asia, succulent and delicious pineapples native to southern Brazil and Paraguay, and the sweetest, most rich, coconut creams and milks that were born from some of the most pure and untouched islands of the world. So to me, I’m thinking that only a pirate would have gained virgin access to these exotic ingredients. Therefore, the pirate tale sounds a bit more plausible, and exciting…

Anywho, here’s how you make it…

1 ½ cups of ice
½ cup diced pineapple, frozen
2 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces Coco Lopez coconut cream
1 ½ ounces white rum
1 ounce dark rum
Pineapple slices

Put the ice, fresh pineapple, juice, coconut cream and the white and dark rums into a blender. Blend until smooth, creamy and frosty. Pour the drink into two glasses (or into one large “I’ma drink all this, by myself, right now” glass) and garnish the rim with pineapple slices.

I’ma jump in there and say, add some cherries, a rum rummer and turn on some Rupert Holmes – Escape (the Pina Colada Song) to finalize your frosty cocktail and begin your tropical adventure!!

Thank you Wikipedia, Taste of Rums, Delish, You Tube and Food Network for all the deets.

See you next week!


Bittercube Door County Hop Bitters Limited Release

Bittercube Door County Hop Bitters are now available at Randall’s!

bittersphotoBittercube Bitters are developed in Milwaukee, WI and created in Madison, WI utilizing spirits from Yahara Bay Distillers, where all aspects of production are completed. Bittercube literally creates the bitters by hand, peeling hundreds of pounds of citrus, weighing dozens of spices, and decorticating vanilla beans, among other time consuming tasks! Bittercube Bitters do not use any extracts or oils, but only “raw” ingredients. The process is different for each style of Bittercube Bitters, with batches going through various phases on their way to completion, taking anywhere from four to eight weeks depending on variety. Bittercube has grown from creating one gallon jars of bitters to now producing batches in large stainless steel maceration tanks, but the hand-crafting process has stayed the same.

Their latest special release are bitters made with Cascade and Chinook hops from Door County.

Bittercube’s Ira Koplowitz describes the bitters at

“‘We worked with Door Peninsula Hops in Door County,’ [Koplowitz] explains. ‘They hand delivered 50 pounds of fresh hops right off the vine. That was really exciting. That’s when the hops are at their best. We immediately put them on neutral grain spirits (Everclear) to extract the flavors.’

The idea was to use classic beer ingredients in the bitters. So, the pair looked to add-ins like feverfew, yarrow and honey to balance out the flavor profile of the bitters.

‘We also used some flowers for aromatics’ sake, along with apricots,’ Koplowitz elaborates. ‘We sampled and made tinctures. We made test batches and created this awesome floral, hoppy bitters.’”

What can you do with hop bitters? A couple of cocktail suggestions:

A Life With Dedication
1.75 oz. Johnny Drum Private Stock Bourbon
.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz. Cane Sugar Syrup
.25 oz. Benedictine
1 dropper Bittercube Door County Hop Bitters

Shake ingredients with ice. Strain into martini glass.

Garnish with a lemon disc.

Proper Kings
2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
.5 oz Cream Sherry
2 eyedroppers Bittercube Hops Bitters

Stir gently and strain into chilled mini rocks glass. Float one hop flower atop the cocktail.

Garnish with a dried hop bud.

October Cocktails at Jefferson

Join us at Randalls on Jefferson every Saturday in October from 3-5pm for different Halloween inspired cocktails!!!

October 5th get possessed by the Exorcist Twist:UV Blue, Tonic, and Cranberry.
October 12th be seduced by Dracula’s Kiss: Cherry Vodka, Cola, and Grenadine.
October 19th get bewitched by the Witch’s Brew: Coconut Rum, Pineapple juice, and Lemon Lime soda.
October 26th get lost in bayou with Swamp Water: Midori Melon, Peach Schnapps, and Lemon Lime soda.

Eat, Drink, Scary

Recipe: The Smoking Gun

whiskeyAs noted earlier, Barrel Aged Bitters from Fee Brothers have arrived back at our store. This recipe makes good use of them, pairing them up with two more of my favorite things: smoky scotch and Fernet Branca!

The Smoking Gun

Two notoriously assertive ingredients—scotch and Fernet Branca—balance each other out in this flavorful after-dinner sipper. “It’s a drink you can hunker down with,” says Mark Allen. “I love how it has such a warming effect, even though it’s served ice-cold.”

2 oz. Islay or other peaty scotch (Allen uses Laphroaig 10-year)

3/4 tsp. Fernet Branca

1/2 tsp. brown sugar cordial (see below)

2 dashes Fee Bros. whiskey barrel-aged bitters

Cracked ice

Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer

Glass: small scotch or cocktail glass

Garnish: mint leaf
Stir all ingredients and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish.

To make the brown sugar cordial, heat two parts brown sugar and one part water until sugar is dissolved and solution has slightly thickened. Allow to cool and stir in an ounce of demerara rum (Allen uses Lemon Hart) per every 10 ounces of syrup. Keeps for a month in the refrigerator.

Mark Allen, Red Feather Lounge, Boise, Idaho