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Die Champagne Piña Colada aus dem Coupette in London ist ein moderner Klassiker

Champagne Piña Colada – a modern classic in the making

Champagne and Piña Colada – can these two work together? Yes, they can. So much so that the infamous Champagne Piña Colada of London’s Coupette is already considered a modern classic. We dive into the history of this unusual yet spectacular drink.

All modern classic cocktails have at least three characteristics in common: Accessibility, Replicability and Popularity. Firstly, they consist of ingredients you can get a hand on in most parts of this world. Secondly, they can be made with techniques known by most professional- and even home-bartenders. Lastly, they have to be well known and popular with guests. A classic is not a classic if no one orders it, right?! If you think about modern classics like the Gin Basil Smash, the Penicillin or the Naked & Famous, just to name a few, they all align with these characteristics.

Now, for a safe way of identifying whether a cocktail ticks those three boxes, go and take a look at the menu of a cocktail bar chain. That’s exactly where to find the Champagne Piña Colada. Only a few years old, yet world famous by now. Since a couple of months this twist on a classic Piña Colada sits on cocktail menus at All Bar Ones around the United Kingdom.

For those who don´t know All Bar One, it’s one of the world´s biggest cocktail bar chains. While known for quantity rather than quality in cocktails, being listed on their menu under signature cocktails, next to classics like the Mojito and the Espresso Martini undoubtedly means one thing: the Champagne Piña Colada is a modern classic which is so approachable, it has reached mainstream! For comparison purposes, let’s say Italian Michelin Star chef Massimo Bottura created a delicious burger which can now be found on the menu at McDonald’s all around the world next to the Big Mac. This burger certainly would be considered a classic, right? Not that All Bar One can be considered anywhere near McDonald’s in terms of cultural influence or branding, but you get the idea…

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3 cl Crème de Cacao weiß
3 cl Crème de Menthe grün
3-4 cl frische Sahne

Champagne Piña Colada
The Champagne Piña Colada is probably the most famous drink coming out of Bar Coupette, London

The Piña Colada and its cooler brother

Anyway, back to the Champagne Piña Colada or first its inspiration: the classic Piña Colada. The original was created either in the 1950’s or 1960’s, depending on which of the three Puerto Rican bartenders who claim ownership of its invention you believe. Either way, it was born in Puerto Rico, this – besides the fact that it has inspired catchy summer songs played on repeat by holiday resorts around the world – is for sure.

Fast forward, 50 (or 60) years later one of London’s most popular neighbourhood bars Coupette opened its doors. Around this time former Coupette director Chris Moore came up with the Champagne Piña Colada. Moore also invented other popular drinks like Apples which gained a lot of popularity. Yet, none of them came close to the Champagne Piña Colada in terms of success and world-wide attention.

So, what is the Champagne Piña Colada? As the name suggests, this drink is heavily inspired by the classic Piña Colada, however, once tried you get the impression that it rather is the Piña Colada’s grown up and more sophisticated sibling. The main reason for this is of course the champagne: „In my opinion the champagne is the special element here. It just binds everything, making the drink silky and adding a note of dryness which balances really well with the sweetness of the pineapple“, Andrei Marcu, manager at Coupette says.

What´s the fuzz all about?

The base of this cocktail, which makes you want to quit your job and never leave this beach chair where you´ve already enjoyed 5 drinks before it’s even lunchtime, is rum. Coupette uses their house blend consisting of white rum and Rhum Agricole. Obviously, a twist on a Piña Colada would not be the same without the piña. At Coupette they squeeze fresh pineapple juice daily and make a cordial with leftover pineapple juice and skins. The latter is meant to introduce a refreshing acidity to the drink in order to balance it out. Difford’s Guide goes with pineapple liqueur instead of the cordial.

Lastly, the original Piña Colada recipe finishes up with cream and cream of coconut. Not just for health but also taste and texture reasons, the Champagne Piña Colada replaces both kinds of cream with coconut sorbet, which makes this twist less heavy and more easily digestible.

Andrei Marcu summarizes the drink’s secret as follows: „This drink is sort of a guilty pleasure for our guests as you still get all the flavours from a classic Piña Colada. However, this one is blending the layers so much better and using sorbet instead of cream just lightens things up.“ It’s hard to argue with the truth, yet even to experienced cocktail drinkers the combination of coconut and champagne seems quite unusual.

„Coconut and champagne is not a classic combination. But they do link through certain characters like their silkiness and how creamy they are. Yet, they contrast each other just enough“, Marcu explains. A few crunchy raw coconut flakes as a garnish on top and this cool and sophisticated, cheeky little cocktail is ready to refresh you. The result is a drink which can be made by bartenders and enjoyed by guests all around the world, no matter if you sit in a beach chair in the Caribbean, on a cosmopolitan rooftop bar in New York or a in cocktail joint in a small town as an after-work drink. That’s what makes it a modern classic.

So, if you like Piiiña Colaaadas, ehm, Champagne Piña Coladas, you can get yours now at the All Bar One closest to you or your friendly neighbourhood bar. We’d recommend the latter.

Credits

Foto: Sarah Swantje Fischer

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