This not-so-distant cousin of the Piña Colada keeps the basic structure of Puerto Rico’s national drink, while swapping rum for vodka. The combination may seem a little strange if you’re a dedicated drinker of the classic, but vodka’s neutral flavor actually cuts the sweetness for a pleasantly tropical cocktail that isn’t cloying.
It’s not clear when the Chi Chi was invented, but it was probably not long after the Piña Colada made its first appearance (a hotly contested date). The recipe is most often credited to tiki’s legendary father Ernest Gantt, aka Don the Beachcomber, which makes sense when you think about all the tropical drinks he made popular in the United States. Regardless of who invented the Chi Chi recipe, what we know for sure is that it reached peak popularity during the 1970s and ‘80s. Made with vodka, coconut cream and pineapple juice, it’s a simple cocktail that packs a big punch of tropical flavor. All you need to get it right are fresh ingredients, a working blender and plenty of ice.