...and getting caught in the rain. -- Rupert Holmes


Before I ever had my first Piña Colada, I knew they were something special, based entirely on their oft-repeated mention in Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)"--a 1970s rom-com in song form with an undeniable sing-a-long and body swaying quality. Think about it, have you ever been in a bar and not heard people sing along with this tune? I think not.

Fun fact: In the original song lyrics, Holmes said "Humphrey Bogart," but ended up changing the lyrics to "Piña Coladas" to conjure the idea of escaping to an island vacation. (Can you imagine if he hadn't changed the lyrics to Piña Colada? We would probably have never heard the song.)

So today--and all summer long--we celebrate the Piña Colada ("strained pineapple"), a Puerto Rican concoction made of rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice. While the creation of the drink has been debated, it is widely believed that bartender Ramon "Monchito" Marero created the exotic sipper in 1954 to delight the bar's wealthy tourist clientele.

Now, less than 100 years later, we can find this tropical flavor in all types of different forms beyond the beverage--from cakes to ice cream and even lip gloss to body wash. So let's think outside of the "glass" this year, and celebrate National Piña Colada Day with jelly shots! Find out how to make them after the jump!

Pina Colada Jello Shots
Photo by Levi Brown

Pina Colada Jelly Shots

Adapted from Michelle Palm's Jelly Shot Test Kitchen

Heat 1/3 cup pineapple juice, 1/3 cup cream of coconut and 2 envelopes (1/4 oz. each) gelatin, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

Add 2/3 cup rum (white or coconut-flavored)

Pour the mixture into a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan

Chill 4 hour or until firm

Cut into 24 pieces

Garnish with shredded coconut

Experiment with simple to spectacular shapes for a crowd-pleasing look:

TIP: For fun shapes, add 1⁄2 envelope more gelatin and use lightly greased silicone ice cube trays or candy molds.

CUTOUTS Pour the mixture into a rimmed pan or pie dish so it's no taller than 3⁄4 inch. Once it's jellied, cut out shapes using a miniature cookie cutter or 1-inch biscuit cutter.

CUBES Refrigerate the mixture in a square-edged casserole or baking pan. When it's set, turn the pan over onto a cutting board and unhinge the jelly using a butter knife or spatula, then slice into squares or rectangles using a sharp knife (measuring with a ruler helps make even sizes).

MOLDS Add an extra 1⁄2 packet of gelatin to the recipe. When the mixture is slightly cooled, pour it into a silicone ice cube tray that's been lightly greased with vegetable oil or cooking spray. (Wipe off any excess oil with a paper towel before filling.) Later, gently pop the molds out onto a cutting board or platter.

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