Guilt-free Piña Colada

...add a few more candles, if you must

…add a few more candles, if you must

As much as I’d like to avoid it, everywhere I look the calendars say the same thing:  today is my birthday.  I love celebrating birthdays, but I’m not a big fan of being a year older.  But since there’s not a damn thing I can do about it, I may as well embrace it, right?  We all need a reason to celebrate, so what’s better than a birthday as an excuse to have a cocktail?  Holidays are always a good reason to hoist a glass, but your birthday is way more personal than that.  It’s a day to celebrate the day you, and no one else, came into this world.  Well, you and over 19 million other people around the world, or 859,178 people in the US.  That’s how many people were born on any given day of the year (though obviously not all in the same year).  But what are the chances you are going to get to celebrate with someone whose birthday is the same day as yours?   I am not friends with Tom Hanks (unfortunately) or  O.J. Simpson (fortunately), two people whose birthdays are also July 9th, so my birthday is a celebration of ME and no one else!  I will be celebrating my special day with my family.  Oh, and of course, a cocktail or two!

Blowing out the candles on my 12th birthday with my sister Gwen and friend Susie

Blowing out the candles on my 12th birthday with my friend Susie and sister Gwen

As I was thinking about what kind of birthday drink I wanted to enjoy, I harkened back to my younger years and remembered all those bar hopping nights with my friend Gigi in Clearwater, Florida.  We were both relatively new to Florida and only 18 (the legal drinking age at the time, by the way), so we always seemed to order sweet tropical drinks when we went out.  The piña colada was always a favorite of mine.  I absolutely love coconut, and the combination of that with pineapple juice and rum was irresistible.  As I got older and more calorie conscious, though, I tried to avoid this concoction unless I was on vacation.  It was so good, but SO extremely fattening and easy to gulp down that before I knew it, I was three drinks and 1500 calories in.

But if you are like me and are crazy about this cocktail, have no fear- I have a guilt-free version of the piña colada that is so good, you won’t miss the best part of the traditional piña colada, the cream of coconut.  As I was experimenting with the recipe, I compared Goya’s Cream of Coconut (which is similar to the Coco Lopez brand) and found that it has a whopping 140 calories in just two tablespoons!  Compare that to only 70 calories in a full cup of coconut milk (and the recipe only calls for maybe 20 calories worth). Sure, the cream of coconut is much more decadent, but what would you rather have, one fattening piña colada, or three guilt-free piña coladas that are just as delicious and have the same amount of booze?  I thought so.

Guilt-free Piña Colada

Guilt-free Piña Colada

Here’s the recipe-

Guilt-free Piña Colada

1 ½ oz coconut rum

1 oz white rum

1 oz amaretto

1 ½ oz pineapple juice

1 ½ oz coconut milk (I used SoDelicious dairy free coconut milk)

Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients.  Shake well, then pour into a tall glass.  Garnish with a pineapple chunk and a paper umbrella.  If you prefer a frozen drink, just pour all these ingredients in a blender and let ‘er rip.

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