Frozen drinks and warm weather go together like peanut butter and jelly. And, fans of piña coladas—the sweet slushy elixir commonly made with rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice—are in luck: NYC boasts several spots that serve up their own creative takes on this tried-and-true cocktail! Check out a few places to get your booze on below, not only for this Caribbean-inspired drink but other adult thirst-quenchers as well:
At aptly named The Rum House in Midtown, folks with a hankering for the warm-weather beverage can opt for The Escape—a creative elixir of El Dorado Dark, Coconut Crème, pineapple juice and sweet vermouth, for good measure. After kicking back one (or two) of this heaven in a glass, stick around and try the venue’s other rum-laced offerings, including the Hemingway Daiquiri, so named after the legendary writer who once said “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” Wise indeed. This cocktail is a cohesive mix of El Dorado Rum, lime, grapefruit and Maraschino. The Rum House also kicks the famed Old Fashioned (traditionally made with whiskey or brandy) up a notch with its own version—think Brugal Anejo, brandied cherry and bitters. Other yummy beverages on the menu include Pimm’s Cup, with Pimm’s No. 1—a gin-based liquor, citrus, cucumber and ginger beer; The Negroni Leoni, a mix of Santa Teresa 1796 rum, Ilegal Mezcal, sweet vermouth and campari; plus plenty more rums and spirits.
Also in Midtown, carnivores unite at Churrascaria Plataforma, a Brazilian steakhouse where foodies with a penchant for protein can nosh on a wide selection of different cuts of meats—such as beef, pork, lamb and chicken—served in the rodizio-style, meaning the waiter will bring over the goods in succession to each diner individually right at their table. As appetizing as this sounds, make sure to leave room for the restaurant’s thirst-quenching cocktails, including the Caipirinha—Brazil’s national cocktail made with fresh limes, sugar, crushed ice and Cachaça, a Brazilian liquor made from raw sugar cane.
In the East Village, those who love Caribbean comfort food of the jerk chicken and oxtail stew variety can get a taste of the islands without leaving this island at Miss Lily’s 7A. The colorful Jamaican eatery—complete with a bright, you-can’t-miss-it façade; as well as equally vibrant interiors (think kaleidoscopes of color and clashing patterns—an homage to ‘80s Jamaican diners), also makes a pretty mean piña colada, the Lily Colada to be exact, with vanilla bean-infused Mount Gay Rum, Half & Half and nutmeg. Also try the Roots & Culture, featuring Herradura Resposado tequila, fresh lime, house-made ginger beer, spiced or dark rum; and the Champion Bubbla, with sorrel reduction, Sailor Jerry spiced rum and champagne.
For even more beach-themed fun, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar in Midtown East’s French Building, with a bar next to its retail location on the ground floor, as well as a space on the second floor, is known for its piña coladas, which use only the freshest pineapple. And, folks can get creative with this festive cocktail—adding a float of any rum of their choosing to the drink. For those that want a milder version of the classic, opt for the Painkiller #2 from the venue’s Tiki Traditions selections, which comes with Pusser’s, Cream of Coconut, pineapple, orange and nutmeg—yum! Dessert and cocktails are great together and the restaurant has a Piña Colada cake—a towering layer cake of deliciousness with light fluffy cake layers, Myers Rum, white chocolate mousse, diced pineapple and toasted coconut.
Visitors to Times Square can add a touch of Cuban flair to their creative cocktails at Havana Central, which offers a frozen piña colada in a wide variety of flavors, including Blackberry, Guava, Mango, Passion Fruit, Pineapple and Strawberry. Also make sure to try the restaurant’s handcrafted sangrias. To soak up the alcohol, pair the lively beverages with one of the restaurant’s delicious entrées like guava-glazed Havana-style ribs or the oh-so-delicious empanadas, including gooey cheese, flavorful chicken, and beef with a kick! Folks can enjoy these pairings while listening to live Cuban music Wednesday thru Sunday.
For more Cuban fun, Victor’s Café—a family-owned restaurant in Midtown, is bursting at the seams with tropical libations, which will instantly make one forget they are in the city, including: the Havana Spice, with Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum, lemon juice, fresh lime sugar and spice, and a cinnamon ring; La Coqueta, featuring Fords Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, wild strawberry purée and Prosseco; and the Consentida, with Voli Mango Coconut Vodka, mango juice, coco purée, agave and shaved coconut. Wash it all down with the restaurant’s authentic Cuban cuisine—think sweet plantains, soft yucca tortillas with roasted pork hash, and more.
In Williamsburg, BK, Maison Premiere pairs rum with the little green fairy with its Maison Absinthe Colada—a mix of Mansinthe (the official absinthe of rockstar Marilyn Manson), Rhum JM, Crème de Menthe, pineapple and coconut. Folks who are a fan of Absinthe should sit a while and try the restaurant’s extensive list of the green elixir.
Breweries aren’t known for frozen rum-based cocktails, but a well-chilled beer in the dead of summer can be pure delight. Folks can toast to summer by throwing back some unusual cold ones at Heartland Brewery—NYC’s first American-style brewpub, with four locations across Midtown, including a coveted spot in the Empire State Building. While enjoying hearty American cuisine such as herb-crusted chicken tenders, southern fried dill pickle spears and plenty of specialty burgers, visitors can wash down their selections with the restaurant’s extensive list of brews, including the creamy Farmer Jon’s Oatmeal Stout, the crisp and smooth Cornhusker Lager, and the Indian River Light, with accents of orange blossoms. And, if you are a true beer connoisseur, then check out DBGB Kitchen and Bar, the casual Downtown meat-centric bistro from famed restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s empire. Their draft list includes categories such as “Cider,” “Refreshing,” “Tart,” “Hoppy,” “Malty,” and “Off the Beaten Path.” Cheers!