Lighter Piña Coladas

Beverages, Latin / Friday, June 8th, 2012

Piña coladas are not cool.

Mainly, I blame “The Piña Colada Song,” but there’s also the evolution of the drink. If you traveled back in time and ordered one in the 1950s (right after you bought gold bars and invented the Internet and Spanx), the bartender would serve you a rum-and-pineapple cocktail (piña colada literally means “strained pineapple”). Clean, fruity and refreshing.

If you ordered one today, the mixologist would laugh you right out the door of his faux speakeasy.

Piña coladas have lost the sexy.

They’ve become these bloated, fatty, cloying coconut abominations we associate with places like Applebee’s and the deck of a Carnival cruise ship.

It’s time to take them back.

This recipe for Lighter Piña Coladas (from “Cooking Light”) blends the best of both worlds. It’s refreshing and heavy on the pineapple, but there’s also plenty of creamy coconut flavor. What makes it “lighter” is that you use coconut-infused evaporated milk instead of the usual cream of coconut.

It’s a genius move that helps bring the calorie count down from 425 to 158 calories per serving (and 1.2 grams of fat instead of 9.4).

Just combine two cups of sweetened coconut with a can of evaporated fat-free milk, warm them, and let the mixture steep in the fridge overnight. When you strain out the coconut, you have your coconut-infused milk.

This lightened-up piña colada is dead-sexy and perfect for the summer. A chest-numbingly cold, super-fruity grown-up slush with a serious rum kick.

Just don’t hum that song. Still not cool.

Lighter Piña Coladas

Slightly adapted from “Cooking Light”

Makes 8 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)

  • 2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 2 1/2 cups ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup gold rum (like Bacardi Gold)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
  1. The Night Before: Combine coconut and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until tiny bubbles form around edges, but don’t boil. (This will take about 7 minutes.) Remove from heat. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  2. One Hour Before: Place the pineapple on a baking sheet, and freeze until firm.
  3. When You’re Ready to Get Your Drink On: Strain the chilled coconut mixture through a sieve over a bowl, pressing the coconut with the back of a spoon to strain out as much milk as possible. Set the liquid aside. Toss the coconut.
  4. In a blender, combine the frozen pineapple cubes, ice cubes, rum, juice, and agave nectar. Blend until smooth. Add milk mixture, and blend until combined. (If you have leftovers, you can freeze them for later.)

Nutritional Info (per 2/3 cup serving) – calories: 158, fat: 1g, protein: 3.5g, carbs: 19g, fiber: 1g, sodium: 57g. (WW PP+ = 3)

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