Puerto Rico’s distinctive drinks
A specialty drink is distinctive to a certain place. Most restaurants and bars on the Island feature their own house specialties -- passionfruit daiquiris, strawberry margaritas, apple martinis, and a host of exotic, often sophisticated concoctions. But what are the drinks that are distinctive to Puerto Rico itself?
Most of the Island’s distinctive drinks consist of products grown or produced locally. Take piña coladas. Invented in San Juan half a century ago, piña coladas are made from pineapple juice, sweetened coconut milk, and molasses-based
rum, all products found in abundance on the Island. Popular Cuba Libre feature rum, the ubiquitous cola, and a touch of tropical lime juice. Rum or planter’s punches combine a local dark rum with lime, orange, and pineapple juices, a touch of nutmeg (grown on the island of Grenada), and a dash of Angostura bitters (produced on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago).
If you prefer your drinks non-alcoholic, try a fruit frappe in one of the exotic flavors of the Caribbean - parcha (passionfruit), mango, lime, coconut, even guava or acerola (West Indian cherry). Or try malta, a traditional island soft drink. Produced in the Caribbean, malta is brewed from barley and hops much like beer and is dark brown in color like stout, yet its non-alcoholic taste is quite sweet.
Perhaps Puerto Rico’s best-known specialty drink is coffee. Grown on cool mountain slopes for centuries, the Island’s strong Arabica coffee has pleased kings and popes and humble jíbaro farmers waking to the crowing of a rooster. Many restaurants serve locally grown coffee, and several cafés invite you to sample from among the Island’s best beans.