Here are some typical drinks that you’ll find in Puerto Rico to keep you cool and refreshed!
Did you know that piña colada originated in Puerto Rico? It’s unclear whether this happened at the Caribe Hilton Hotel or at the Barrachina bar, but regardless, it has been Puerto Rico’s official drink since 1978. The original cocktail is made with cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and rum mixed in a blender with crushed ice. In Puerto Rico, it’s very common to make this drink without the rum, so everyone can enjoy it!
Puerto Rico is home to the largest premium rum distillery in the world, which produces Bacardí rum. Located in Cataño, about a 20-minute drive from the capital of San Juan, they offer different tours where you can learn about their history and try some cocktails.
Bacardí has its roots in Cuba, but we have our own local brand, Don Q. This brand originated in 1865 by the Serrallés family near the town of Ponce, on the south side of the island. Today, you can visit the Serrallés mansion to learn more about the history of this family, the rum, and how to mix your own cocktails.
Another type of rum found on the island is our artisanal rum, called ron caña or pitorro. This type of rum used to be homemade and illegal, similar to moonshine in the U.S., but a few small brands have emerged with legal standing that sell throughout the island. The largest of these is Destilería Coquí, located in the town of Mayagüez, on the west side of the island. They offer a tour where you can learn about their process and try all of their rum flavors, which include strawberry, passion fruit, and coffee.
One of the most popular cocktails made with rum (beside piña colada) is the mojito. Originating in Cuba, this drink is made with white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water and fresh mint. In recent years, this cocktail has become a staple in Puerto Rico, especially the combinations with coconut milk or passion fruit juice.
Piragua is the Puerto Rican snow cone. It consits of shaved ice and syrup in a variety of flavors. You can only buy piraguas from a small rolling cart like the one pictured above, either at the beach, a park, or at a town festival. Inside, there’s a huge block of ice that the piragüero shaves by hand. The most common flavors used are frambuesa (strawberry), anís (anise), parcha (passion fruit), coco (coconut), and mantecado (a vanilla-flavored syrup). Because it’s so hot in Puerto Rico, the ice melts really fast so this turns into a cold drink relatively quickly.
Frappé is French for iced, and in Puerto Rico, the word is used to describe a type of drink made in a blender with crushed ice. It’s similar to a smoothie (but probably not as nutritious), using milk or fruit juice as a base. You can buy frappé anywhere in Puerto Rico in all sorts of flavor combinations.
One famous destination is Don Frappé, located on the west side of the island, in the town of Añasco. This place specializes in their unique mixes, from Twix, Snickers, Nutella, or a variety of fruit combinations.
Coquito is a typical drink during Christmas. It is made with coconut milk, coconut cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, white or aged rum, and spices like cinammon and nutmeg. We usually make a non-alcoholic version for kids, as well.
This is only a small sampling of the drinks you can find in Puerto Rico. Which is your favorite? Comment below.