by Gary Crunkleton
Spirit Forward is an occasional column featuring excerpts from conversations with Gary Crunkleton, owner of The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill and The Crunkleton Charlotte.
“After World War 2, America is booming. People are using a lot of rum to make these exotic drinks — because soldiers were going to all these exotic places — so they wanted to have drinks that are beautiful.
Also, with the American family prospering, it creates more leisure time. They have more time to drink, and they might want a piña colada because it helps them escape to Tahiti or wherever.
The piña colada actually hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. It sounds lame, I think because of that song (Rupert Holmes’ 1979 hit “Escape -The Piña Colada Song”). But it’s really a good drink. I like to use Flor de Cana rum. Rum is sweet, so what I like to do is give it a boost with a little high proof 151.
Then I add coconut cream and some pineapple juice — we fresh squeeze [at The Crunkleton], so always shake the bottles because the juice will settle. Then I’m probably going to add a little bitters. It gives it more depth.
When you make this drink, you can put Benedictine in here. You can put Cherry Heering in here. If it’s too sweet, you can add some lime juice. You can do what you like. … I’m kind of experimenting with it. But the purpose of this experiment is to show that you don’t have to follow recipes. You can do what you want to do — you’re the one drinking it!” SP
The Piña Colada
1.5 oz. Flor de Cana aged rum
1 oz. Goslings 151 proof Black Seal rum
2 oz. Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
2 oz. pineapple juice
3 dashes Peychuad’s bitters
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake for ten seconds to wake the liquor up, and mix the ingredients. Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with pineapple leaves from the crown.