I've always been fond of rum, and fruity, rum cocktails are delightful whether they come with an umbrella or not. The only, little problem, as I see it, with these kinds of cocktails is that they tend to have very high calorie counts. I used to make pina coladas at home from time to time, and they usually ended up being dessert. I would combine frozen pinapple chunks, some Coco Lopez cream of coconut, rum, and ice and blend until smooth. Served with a wedge of fresh pineapple and maybe a spoon if it was extra thick, it was always deliciously sweet. These days, I pay more attention to how many calories I'm consuming in beverages, so when I saw an idea for a lighter, healthier pina colada in the August issue of Living, I had to try it. The recipe isn't available online, but it's very easy as I'll describe below. For this version, rather than using cream of coconut with added sugar and stabilizers for maintaining a consistent texture, all-natural coconut water is used instead. The result is much less sweet, and the flavor is purely of pineapple and coconut.
I chopped a whole pineapple into chunks and placed the chunks in the freezer for a few hours. You don't actually need to freeze the pineapple, but it adds to the icy appeal. To make the cocktails, just add two cups of pineapple chunks, three quarters of a cup of pure coconut water, one half cup of ice cubes, one tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and one half cup of rum to a blender. Puree until smooth, and garnish with toasted coconut.
They were frothy and smooth and just sweet enough. Full of tropical flavors, this was just as fun as a traditional pina colada. And, with about a quarter of the calories, I can once again make these cocktails as often as I like.