What's the difference between daiquiris and pina coladas?

The world of tropical drinks is blessedly vast, so “What is the difference between a daiquiri and a piña colada?” may have crossed your mind at some point during summer poolside sipping.

Though they’re both beach resort staples and can look pretty similar in their frozen incarnations, piña coladas and daiquiris are not to be confused. They’re both rum-based cocktails, but that’s where the similarities of these historic drinks end. (Well, they do also have food holidays pretty close together: National Piña Colada Day is on July 10 and National Daiquiri Day falls on July 19. We definitely celebrate both.)

The Perfect Piña Colada

A piña colada—which translates to “strained pineapple”—is made from rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice.

You can substitute different types of rum to change the flavor profile and many variations exist, including frozen piña coladas, which are often garnished with fresh pineapple and maraschino cherries. Named the National Drink of Puerto Rico, Rupert Holmes’s 1979 hit “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” made the drink famous worldwide.

Read More: Pineapple Drinks That Go Beyond Daiquiris

perfect daiquiri recipe

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The Ideal Daiquiri

Although daiquiris have an equally fun island aesthetic, they are actually a traditional sour, made with a base liquor of rum plus lime juice and a sweetener (often simple syrup). Daiquiris can come in many flavors—strawberry, banana, avocado, and watermelon—and like piña coladas, are often frozen. New Orleans is (in)famous for their frozen daiquiri shops, but those slushy concoctions are a fry cry from the classic daiquiri (and also delicious in their own right!).

Named after Daiquirí, the small Cuban mining town that the U.S. invaded during the Spanish-American War, daiquiris in their original form became popular in the US in the early 1900s. Easy to make with only three ingredients, the traditional daiquiri (shaken, not frozen) is becoming more and more popular, deservedly so.

Read More: When to Shake vs Stir a Cocktail

Check out these nine recipes for delicious daiquiris and perfect piña coladas and get your summer soiree started off right.

Classic Daiquiri

Classic Daiquiri

Chowhound

This is an easy classic that you can doctor with different fruit juices and additions. Start with just the basics: rum, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup, with plenty of fresh ice. Get our Classic Daiquiri recipe.

Classic Piña Colada

Classic Piña Colada

Bochkarev Photography/Shutterstock

This is the traditional recipe for a piña colada, with light rum. Be sure that you’re using coconut cream (not coconut milk) and you can use dark rum to make the flavors more complex. Get our Piña Colada recipe.

Frozen Pineapple Daiquiri

Frozen Pineapple Daiquiri

Chowhound

Frozen chunks of pineapple add a great tropical twist to this daiquiri recipe and keep the texture smooth—the frozen fruit also prevents any watered-down flavors since you’re subbing it in for additional ice. Get our Frozen Pineapple Daiquiri recipe.

Read More: 11 Slushy Drinks to Keep You Cool This Summer

Grilled Pineapple Daiquiri

Grilled Pineapple Daiquiri

Chowhound

Once you’ve mastered the frozen pineapple daiquiri, take it to the next level with this white rum-based drink. The charred pineapple adds a caramelized sweetness to the cocktail that pairs beautifully with grilled meats. Get our Grilled Pineapple Daiquiri recipe.

Pietro Collina’s Daiquiri

Homemade cane syrup with a 2:1 cane sugar to water ratio and double strained lime juice is what makes this daiquiri recipe so crisp and clean. Garnish with a slice of lime. Get Pietro Collina’s Daiquiri recipe.

Probiotic Piña Colada

This is the “healthy” take on a cocktail you would never think exists—making your own coconut milk into a yogurt-like consistency with the addition of probiotics and layering it with a blend of amaretto, rum, lime, and pineapple juice. Like an alcoholic smoothie, this blend is part healthy choice and part party in a glass. Get the Probiotic Piña Colada recipe.

Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri

Cut the watermelon into cubes, freeze them, and blend with rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and orange juice. You can freeze the cubed watermelon months in advance and have these ready to go for a party at a moment’s notice. Get the Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri recipe.

Frozen Piña Colada

This frozen piña colada is enriched with half-and-half and finished with Angostura bitters. Use half light rum and half dark rum and crushed, canned pineapple instead of pineapple juice to add even more flavor. Get the Frozen Piña Colada recipe.

Hemingway Daiquiri

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway and invented at the legendary Floridita bar in Havana, this take has cherry liqueur and grapefruit juice with much less sweetness than a traditional daiquiri. It’s also called a Papa Doble. Get the Hemingway Daiquiri recipe.

Header image by Chowhound, using photos from Shutterstock.

Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC’s best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.
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