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By Doreen Colondres

Coquito is a typical Puerto Rican drink made especially for the holiday season. It is tradition among “boricuas” to prepare their own special version and share it with family and friends. To do this, us Puerto Ricans prepare all year long by collecting empty bottles to decorate and fill with this yummy drink, and then we give them away. So, if you invite a Puerto Rican to your home this holiday season, don’t be surprised if they come with a bottle of coquito as a symbol of love and gratitude.

They say that this drink dates back to the time of the peasants who worked in the sugar cane fields in the 1800’s. Inspired by American punch was born a “rum with coconut” drink that later became coquito.

Don’t be scared, this recipe makes a lot, because you have to make enough coquito to last the entire Christmas season. The rum ensures that the drink won’t ferment over time, though. My grandmother’s version was made with fresh coconut milk that was, of course, homemade. But thank God, today we have canned coconut milk that comes ready to mix.

What’s more is you can try 50 different recipes of coquito, and they will all taste different to you. Each person has their own style—there are those who add nutmeg, cloves, almonds, pistachios, brandy, among other ingredients. Of course, the big secret is to use a delicate rum. I use Don Q Blanco from Puerto Rico. Cheers to you and yours and let’s celebrate!

Three Versions of Coquito:

What you need:

  • 5 cans of evaporated milk (12 ounces)
  • 3 cans of condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 2 cans of coconut cream (15 ounces)
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 bottle of Puerto Rican white rum (750 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon

What you need to do:

Beat the eggs by hand and gradually add all the milks and the cream. Then add the rum and the cinnamon powder. I’m one of those people who prefer not to use a blender because I think there’s much more love in doing everything by hand, but that’s just me. Once everything is well-mixed, put the coquito in glass bottles (you can use a cork if you don’t have lids), and let them refrigerate. If you’d like, and if you want to decorate the drink a little, add more cinnamon or shredded coconut so you can feel the bits in each sip. Drink coquito with caution, balance, cold and without ice.

To make Chocolate Coquito, use natural unsweetened cocoa, or 70% cacao, so it’s not too sweet. For every 8 ounces of cooked coquito, add 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, mix well and refrigerate. To make Coquito de Café, add 2 tablespoons of black coffee, already strained, for every 8 ounces of coquito. Mix well and refrigerate.

Happy Holidays!

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