The legendary piña colada, invented in Puerto Rico with fresh pineapple juice, coconut cream and heavy cream blended with rum and served in a hollowed-out coconut shell, was made famous by several bartenders in the late '50s. Here in Sarasota, we have many options when it comes to tropical cocktails, but a well-made piña colada still remains a favorite poolside summer drink. Here are five of my favorite destinations:
4711 Gulf of Mexico, Longboat Key, (941) 383-2451, zotabeachresort.com
Thick and frosty, with a Siesta Key Rum floater, this one belongs in the hand of someone swinging in a beach hammock.
5353 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 925-4444, creekseafood.com
Phillippi Creek takes it up a notch with its calypso piña colada, made with blue curaçao and toasted shredded coconut on top. A little umbrella and a water view at this tiki-style fish house complete the deal.
300 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-2888, tommybahama.com
While Tommy Bahama's deliciously creamy frozen cocktail comes in a hurricane glass, the bigger draw is the piña colada cake: White chocolate mousse meets light and dark rum, outstanding layers of light yellow cake and crushed pineapple, with toasted coconut.
1600 Harbor Drive S., Venice, (941) 488-1456, sharkysonthepier.com
Probably my first cocktail as a tourist. Between the view and the casual vibe, this frozen medley is worthy of a second brain freeze as you sip away and take in our stunning sunsets.
760 Broadway St., Longboat Key, (941) 383-2391, marvistadining.com
Whether you drive up Gulf of Mexico Drive or float to Mar Vista by boat, the frozen cocktails here are seriously delicious.