Here's a refreshing bit of trivia for a hot summer's day. A
correspondent of Insider's just returned from Ponte Vedra Beach,
Fla., where he met the property's wine steward, Ricardo Gracia.
Gracia, 83, has been a bartender and wine steward practically all
his life, and it was he who named the drink "Gibson" in the 1950s
for the tennis star Althea Gibson, who drank her martinis with an
onion rather than an olive. But Gracia is better known for
"inventing" the pina colada, which he concocted out of necessity.
He was working at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico in 1954 at a
time when the local drink was called the coco loco. It consisted of
cream of coconut, coconut water and rum served in a coconut half
shell. The coconuts were hand cut by machete-wielding workers. When
that group went on strike, Gracia had to come up with a new
signature drink. He decided on pineapples. He experimented by
mixing strained pineapple juice and white rum whipped up in a
blender with ice cubes, and the result is the ever-popular pina
colada, which means "strained pineapple," more or less, in Spanish.
Now, if you'll excuse us ...