As Floridians, we know all too well the importance of the umbrella. So it’s no surprise that it has it’s own day. In fact, it’s more surprising that it isn’t more celebrated across the state, which is why we’re using today to pull out our little drink umbrellas and all our cocktail supplies. Some call it “just an excuse to make a cocktail.” We call it another reason to celebrate.
Drink umbrellas originated in tiki bars–but that’s not news to you. The tiny parasol has always been a bright garnish on an even brighter drink. The origin of the classic cocktail is a little contested–no one is quite sure why the umbrellas were first introduced. Some say it was a marketing ploy to make bars more women-friendly. Others say it was a way to bring paradise to chillier places, like Manhattan and Chicago. Tiki drink expert and author (yes, that’s real) Jeff Berry traced the umbrella back to the Hilton Waikiki in Hawaii, where bartender Harry Yee introduced the parasols as a replacement for the usual sugar cane garnish his bar used.
Whatever the reason for its introduction, the cocktail umbrella is a classic garnish for vacation drinks and frozen cocktails. Enjoy one today in honor of Umbrella Day. What will we be drinking? This Pina Colada.
1.5 oz Rum
2 oz Coconut Milk
2 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until cold and strain into a hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a cherry, a pineapple wedge and a bright cocktail umbrella.