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4 Kahunas’ Elvisian Headhunter is a refreshing twist to the piña colada game. PHOTO BY CODY NEATHERY

Even if you don’t like getting caught in the rain and are actually into yoga, you don’t have to take out a classified ad in our magazine to enjoy what we’re going to call the Cocktail of Summer ’23.

The key to making a delectable piña colada in a frozen machine relies solely on the balance of water, sugar, and booze. Any one of these ingredients applied too heavily or too cautiously can affect both flavor and the integrity of the drink, whose buoyancy truly reflects on the maker.

If you’re not prone to cruising the back pages of local rags but enjoy escapism without being whisked away to some tropical island for this frothy frozen beverage, then allow us to furnish you with a one-way ticket to some of Fort Worth’s best piña coladas. Making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape is up to you.

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The piña colada at Joe T. Garcia’s (2201 N. Commerce St., 817-626-4356) is one whose fate relies on whoever’s behind the bar. On most of my visits, this has been one of the best I’ve ever drunk. Served in one of Joe T.’s branded plastic cups crowned with whip, the drink is an attractive fit for the spacious patio with lush vegetation and water features, but occasionally the consistency falters and the beverage is just too dense. I would like to see a piña colada keyholder who maintains the same standard applied to the Northside institution’s world-renowned margaritas.

Along with the tropical ambiance, Joe T.’s piña colada is the perfect escape.
PHOTO BY CODY NEATHERY

 

After a tumultuous past few months, caught in a lease/landlord tug-of-war, and after spending 97 years on Camp Bowie Boulevard, The Original Mexican Eats Cafe is moving to the North Side. Now located at 1400 N. Main St. (817-738-6226) among some of the best Mexican restaurants and taquerias in all of North Texas, The Original can definitely put a dent in the draws of nearby Joe T.’s and Los Vaqueros, two other heavy hitters nearby. The Original’s piña colada has never faltered. It’s never failed. When the pandemic shut the world down and a sliver of sanity presented itself in low-occupancy restaurant openings, The Original was the first place I visited. Holding that plastic cup full of sultry slush was a moment of hope for a return to normalcy. We wish they find that same peace in their new space.

Not even the panny could stop The Original from dishing out world-class piña coladas.
PHOTO BY CODY NEATHERY

 

Keeping it all in the Northside family, not only does Los Vaqueros (2629 N. Main St., 817-624-1511) serve up the most consistent piña colada in town, but they also produce a quality of food to match. Housed in a historic, partially hollowed-out two-story building slightly north of the Stockyards, Los Vaqueros serves their piña colada in a schooner, which is especially gratifying after standing in one of the long lines to get in. Los Vaqueros, boasting a vibrant rustic interior with a constant flow of live music, is truly an adventure minus sandy beaches and palm trees.

 

Our tour takes us to the South Side, where piña coladas are represented well. Serving the TCU area and Near Southside since 1986, the family-owned La Tortilandia (1112 W. Berry St., 817-922-0205) is perhaps one of the only places where you can be served a piña colada with your breakfast tacos.

Reflecting owner Jose Robles’ interests, the restaurant is decked out in TCU and golf memorabilia, and sitting at the bar is where you’ll likely find him greeting guests or slinging drinks. Regarding what I believe is the best piña colada in town, he is tight-lipped on its origins, saying only that it’s a “family recipe.” The only solution I can think of is to drink one yourself.

 

Opened since December, with a Christmas-themed tiki pop-up, Down n’ Out (150 W. Rosedale St.) has been whipping up piña coladas since Day 1 — but with a twist. With an unassuming spice, these might throw off the purist but, with their varying nuances, can easily win over adventurous and cautious imbibers alike. Not all piña coladas must mirror each other, and DNO’s are thicc in texture and ambiguous in flavor, making it easy to order another.

Down N’ Out keeps its mix interesting and enticing.
PHOTO BY CODY NEATHERY

 

Honorable Mention: At 4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge (506 E. Division St., Ste. 160, Arlington), look out for The Headhunter. This delicacy is rich in banana flavor, but on Elvis Presley’s birth- or deathday, the bar adds peanut butter to make for a hunka hunka hip-swiveling cooling love in a glass.

4 Kahunas’ Elvisian Headhunter is a refreshing twist to the piña colada game.
PHOTO BY CODY NEATHERY

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