Adam Bernbach, bar manager of Washington, D.C. cocktail bar 2 Birds 1 Stone, has a particular affection for Piña Coladas and serves them year round in his basement-level bar. Though he uses unsweetened coconut milk (as opposed to the traditional sweet and viscous cream of coconut) to manage the drink’s tendency toward confection, Bernbach maintains the tropical cocktail’s three-flavor pillars: rum, pineapple and coconut. His recipe takes a couple extra steps including making a pineapple syrup, but is worth the extra work. The piña mix (see Editor’s Note) can be added to a siphon to “accentuate the pins-and-needles acidity of pineapple and to lighten the coconut milk,” as Bernbach recommends.
1 1/2 ounces aged rum (preferably El Dorado 5-year)
3 1/2 ounces piña blend, see Editor's Note
Garnish: pineapple cube and brandied cherry
Pour rum and piña blend over crushed ice in a "coconut mug" if you're fancy enough to have one. A hurricane glass will do too.
Stir to combine.
Add more crushed ice, and garnish with a pineapple cube and a brandied cherry.
To make the piña blend mix together 16 ounces of pineapple syrup (4 parts fresh pineapple juice, 1 part white sugar, 1 part light brown sugar), 8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk, 6 ounces water and 2 ounces fresh lime juice. This will be enough to make 9 piña coladas.