When actress Joan Crawford tasted the piña colada at what was then the Beachcombers Bar in the Caribe Hilton, Calle Los Rosales (tel. 787/721-0303), she claimed it was "better than slapping Bette Davis in the face."

One story has it that the famous drink is the creation of bartender Ramon "Monchito" Marrero, now long gone, who was hired by the Hilton in 1954. He spent 3 months mixing, tasting, and discarding hundreds of combinations until he felt he had the right blend. Thus, the frothy piña colada was born. It's been estimated that some 100 million of them have been sipped around the world since that fateful time.

Monchito never patented his formula and didn't mind sharing it with the world. Still served at the Hilton, here is his not-so-secret recipe:

2 ounces light rum

1 ounce coconut cream

1 ounce heavy cream

6 ounces fresh pineapple

1/2 cup crushed ice

Pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour rum, coconut cream, cream, and pineapple juice in blender. Add ice. Blend for 15 seconds. Pour into a 12-ounce glass. Add garnishes.

The folks at Barrachina, meanwhile, insist a bartender employed with the restaurant, Ramón Portas Mingot, developed the drink that put the island on the world cocktail map.

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