On a visit to any of the bars and night clubs in City Island, one cocktail drink that is slowly gaining popularity is the Hennessy colada.

That is not all though, as it is spreading across the five boroughs and to a lesser degree across the country. Besides drinking straight Hennessy, a great way to enjoy Hennessy cognac is to incorporate different ingredients to give you a product known as Henny colada.

If you like Pina colada but want to incorporate Hennessy into it, this is the drink you need to ask for. This cocktail drink can be enjoyed as a summer drink and can be found in any cocktail bar.

What is a Henny Colada?

One can rightly say that henny colada is a branch of Pina colada. Stories have it that Pina colada was invented in a luxury hotel bar in Puerto Rico in the 1950s for tourists looking for a taste of the Caribbean. Its ingredients were basically rum, fruit (of which some use fresh pineapple juice), cream of coconut, and a sweetener like sugar syrup and of course ice.

Crushed ice is an ideal option for this and the last but not the least is the garnish. The options range from pineapple wedges to maraschino cherries to whatever you like.

So what’s the difference between Pina Colada and Henny colada? The difference lies in the use of Hennessy cognac to replace the rum. Hennessy is cognac, which is a brandy that is manufactured in Cognac, France. The drink has smooth rich tipples with an appearance of incredible swagger.

There are different types of Hennessy and the letters that come after the name (V.S, X.O, V.S.O.P, etc) are straightforward and easy ways to gauge the brandy’s impact on your palate and your wallet of course. The letters are just a simple guide to aging- “Very Special”, “Extra Old”, “Very Old” and so forth.

Henny colada is one of the crazier, more delicious Hennessy cocktails available out there. This cocktail drink is a cousin of pina colada in that it is just like pina colada but made with Hennessy cognac.

That is to say, it is purely Hennessey and pina colada but ingredients can be tweaked to one’s taste aside from the original version.

Henny colada drink can also be described as frozen pina colada made with Hennessy cognac to give frozen Henny colada. This drink calls for Hennessy V.S but Hennessy Privilege can also be used as an upgrade.

This cocktail drink has its origin in City Island, the Bronx and a visit to the restaurants there will have you seeing Henny colada served in tall plastic cups and garnished with cherries or orange slices. With City Island as the summer spot to hang out for those in the Bronx, it is no surprise that it is the home to this drink.

Pina colada is the official drink of Puerto Rico and as for the part of Hennessy; cognac has played a major role in black culture for long. Thus in all, Henny colada drink also speaks to the demographics of the neighborhood.

In recent years however, it has spread cross the boroughs of the Bronx and also slowly gaining popularity in bars across the country so the recipes might vary. One thing to note however is that the major henny colada ingredients are Hennessy cognac, cream of coconut and pineapple juice. Any other is for additional taste and for a more exciting flavor.

Henny colada, a drink that is traditionally a summertime staple in City Island isn’t just restricted to that anymore as it has also found its place to nightclubs too. Outside the bar, it makes an appearance in nutcrackers form. This is the iconic and technically illegal bottled slushy sold along the city’s beachside in the summertime.

The best vendors of this product delight in the fact that they abstain from store bought colada mixes and use the real deal Hennessy instead of using a cheap knock off. So one thing you should know when it comes to preparation is that bottled mixes are never a good idea.

There are some related Hennessy cocktail recipes that can also be enjoyed. They include the Strawberry Hennessy Island; the Hennything is Possible, the Wolf Pack Venom and others.

The Simplest Henny Colado Recipes

The simplest of the recipes call for a mix of Hennessy, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and caramel syrup garnished with a cherry for that extra dessert cocktail vibe.


  • 5 oz. (45ml) Hennessy VS
  • 5 oz. (45ml) cream of coconut
  • 4 oz.(120ml) pineapple juice
  • Caramel syrup
  • Cherry to garnish.


  • Put the Hennessy, cream of coconut, pineapple juice in a glass filled with ice. Shake well until the cream of coconut is well combined and it is cold.
  • Add ice to the glass again and drizzle caramel syrup over.
  • Strain mix into glass and garnish with a cherry.

Taking a cue from pina colada, a faster way to go about preparation with fewer steps to follow is to make use of a blender. In this case, you add the cream of coconut, pineapple juice and Hennessey and ice to the blender. Blend until you get a smooth consistency and serve. You can garnish with a pineapple wedge or cherry.

Equipment and tools required include a blender, cocktail shaker, cocktail glass/ chilled mason jar or collins glass.

Coconut Cream or Cream of Coconut

When sourcing for ingredients, know that cream of coconut is different from coconut milk and coconut cream.  How so you may ask? There are a lot of coconut creams available and it can be a pretty confusing choice to make when you want to have a great Henny colada.

Coconut milk is made from simmering one part shredded coconut in one part water; it has the liquid consistency of cow’s milk while coconut cream is much thicker and richer as it is made from simmering four parts of shredded coconut in one part water.

Coconut milk has become a good alternative to dairy milk and is a good option in blended Pina colada but not the shaken version.

So what is cream of coconut?

It is the sweetened version of coconut cream and is an often added ingredient to desserts and mixed drinks. So, because of its added sugar it cannot be interchanged with coconut cream. It is the best option for this colada drink. Popular brands of cream of coconut include Coco Lopez and Coco Real.

The Best Pineapple Juice

This is also an important detail in preparing your Henny colada. So the quality of your pineapple juice will either make or break your colada drink. The best option for a good drink is to use fresh pineapple juice. If you do not have a juicer, you can get the next best option available at the store or you could just use the opportunity to get an electric juicer.

Did you know?

To speed up the ripening process of pineapple you can make it stand on its head. For an average pineapple that weighs from about 2 to 5 pounds, 6 ounces of juice can be gotten from just one pound. So that means from a single pineapple, you can get anywhere from 12 to 30 ounces of fresh juice.

Just imagine all the Henny colada you can make with that quantity of juice. Some people add sprits of lime juice or Angostura bitters which gives Henny colada a slightly acidic taste.

Shaking or Blending?

Like I mentioned earlier, you can either shake or blend your mix to get a shaken Henny colada or frozen Henny colada. When using a cocktail shaker, the best way to obtain a great Hennessy Colada is to shake it like you mean it! Give the drink a good shake for about 10 to 20 seconds so as to allow all the ingredients to evenly mix together to become one.

Normally, shaken pineapple juice will come out foamy and when the cream of coconut is added to the mix, the drink will come out nice and creamy.

Though it may not be as thick as the frozen Henny colada as the ice will add to the dilution, but it should also have a nice luscious texture.

For a frozen Henny colada, all that is needed is to toss all the ingredients into the blender, give it a good blend and you have the freshest henny colada you could ever imagine. This is even way better than all those store bought colada mixes as they are often filled with artificial ingredients and preservatives to ensure they sit on the shelf for a long period of time. Bleh.

Making or Buying Henny Colada?

It could be incredibly easy to pick up one of those commercial bottled mixes available. Why go through the stress of making one when you can easily get one in a single bottle all prepared?

Well, first of all, the four ingredients needed are not too difficult to gather and aside that fresh is always the best. Many of the mixes you find in the store leave a lot to be desired when it comes to flavor.

Filled with artificial flavor and preservatives, they sometimes end up sitting on the shelf for months at a time if not longer. So why not pick up a few inexpensive ingredients so you know that you know what you’re drinking.

One advantage of preparing your drink from scratch yourself is that you can choose whatever you want to go into your blender or shaker. Maybe you want to throw in fresh chunks of pineapple into the blender or less cream.

If you buy cream of coconut and pineapple juice separately instead of getting colada mixes, a whole list of cocktails is at your disposal.

Variations to the Henny Colada drink

Like I mentioned before, there are many variations to Henny colada. These variations are a result of different proportions to the core ingredients aside Hennessy as that is the major ingredient.

You could enjoy a kappa colada, this takes a cue from frozen pina colada but with brandy used instead of or even coco colada which is just a mocktail version of both pina colada and henny colada. Coco colada is just like the original; fruity, tropical and highly refreshing but without the kick.

Strawberry henny colada is one prepared with a mix of fresh strawberries and ginger ale. There is also the strawberry Hennessy island, a summertime tropical island cocktail that is a mix of strawberry vodka, peach schnapps, triple sec, lime juice,, lemonade, blue curacao and of course, Hennessy with a lime wheel and cherry garnish.

This is one great party drink too.

Hennything is a possible cocktail is also one dessert cocktail that combines Hennessy, Triple Sec, orange juice, pineapple juice and is garnished with a mini Hennessy bottle, an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. It sure does more than it looks as it packs a punch.

Another delightful and wild cocktail drink with more than Hennessy is the Wolf Pack Venom. This mixed drink is an exciting cocktail with a mix of its essentials and melon liqueur, orange juice, grenadine and an orange slice garnish for extra fruitiness.

Chi Chi cocktail is an identical drink to Henny colada but a slight difference is in the alcohol base. Vodka is used instead of Hennessy to give a fruity tropical drink.

In all, people tweak recipes to their preference or taste profile so you can do the same with the Henny colada recipe.

Garnish Choice

When it comes to garnishing your colada drink, there are a lot of options available for you to choose from. The most popular garnish available is the maraschino cherry. Cut a small notch in the cherry and slot it on the rim of the glass.

The same can be done with pineapple wedges. The cherry can also be placed on top of the cocktail as well. You can also decorate with umbrellas or any fancy thing. I remember seeing some cups of henny colada at a certain restaurant garnished with a cherry and orange slice pierced by an American flag toothpick. That is both patriotic and cute.

When next you think of a summertime cocktail, do not forget to treat yourself to a Henny colada drink!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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