Puerto Rican coquito is a thick, creamy, tropical cocktail served around the holidays. Think of it like a tropical eggnog.
It features classic holiday spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves with the lovely sweetness of coconut.
It’s so rich and creamy, and the flavors of coconut shine through. So yeah, it’s the ultimate holiday treat!
And the great thing about coquito is that it lasts in the fridge for months. So you can whip up a big batch after Thanksgiving and sip on it all season!
Intrigued? Let’s dive in and learn how to make the best Puerto Rican Coquito.
Puerto Rican Coquito Recipe
Coquito, pronounced co-kee-to, translates to “little coconut” in Spanish. But the origins are a mystery.
It appeared in some Puerto Rican cookbooks in the 1950s. But many believe it was created when Spanish colonizers arrived in Puerto Rico.
The Spanish used local ingredients, like coconut and white rum, to spice up their traditional Spanish eggnog.
But wait, what is eggnog? Well, it’s a mix of milk, cream, sugar, spices, and usually whipped eggs.
And this version is similar, only it calls for cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk with those holiday spices.
Add white rum, and it’s one helluva Christmas cocktail.
Coquito vs. Eggnog (What’s the Difference?)
Coquito and eggnog are so similar that it’s often referred to as Puerto Rican eggnog.
They’re both holiday drinks made in that sweet spot between Thanksgiving and Christmas and marry seasonal spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and cloves.
- American eggnog is relatively simple. It pairs eggs and cream with holiday spices and rum.
- Coquito adds a tropical twist with the cream of coconut. It adds tropical flavors, making it so indulgently sweet and creamy.
It still incorporates warming holiday spices of vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom. But adding cream of coconut takes it to a whole new level.
What better than rum and coconut?
There’s no need to head down to the specialty market. All the ingredients in this authentic Puerto Rican cocktail are mostly pantry staples.
- Evaporated milk. Using evaporated milk instead of regular milk adds a thick, milky richness that takes this holiday drink over the top.
- Egg yolks. Egg yolks provide an added layer of creaminess and richness. Leave them out if you feel a little uneasy about adding raw egg yolks.
- Cream of coconut. The star of this show is the cream of coconut. It’s slightly sweet and super thick. It delivers a creamy hint of tropical flair that pairs so well with warm spices and white rum.
- Sweetened condensed milk. Since this recipe doesn’t incorporate added sugar, the sweetness comes from sweetened condensed milk. It’s ultra-thick and as sweet as candy.
- White rum. To make it boozy, white rum is the way to go. To keep it authentic, opt for Puerto Rican white rum like Bacardi.
- Spices. To make it taste just like Christmas, it’s all in the spices. Vanilla extract, ground cloves, and cinnamon deliver all the holiday feels. A sprinkle of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick makes the ultimate garnish.
How to Make Puerto Rican Coquito
Making Puerto Rican coquito is simple. Follow these quick and easy steps.
1. Cook the egg yolks. Using a double boiler, slowly simmer the egg yolks and evaporated milk under low heat until thick. Be sure to stir it constantly.
2. Blend all the ingredients. Pour the egg yolk mixture into a blender. Add cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, spices, and white rum (optional). Blend it until it’s thick and smooth.
3. Let it chill in the refrigerator. Pour the coquito mixture into a jar or pitcher, cover it, and let cool in the fridge overnight.
Tips for the Best Coquito
- Always use real cream of coconut. Coconut milk or coconut cream will not work in this recipe. So splurge on cream of coconut and opt for a good brand, like Coco Lopez and Coco Real.
- Use white rum to make it boozy. While most eggnog recipes use spiced rum, white rum works best in this holiday cocktail. It’s super light and won’t detract from the subtle flavors of the coconut.
- Don’t overcook the egg yolks! Gently cooking egg yolks is a delicate science. When placed in the double boiler, cook them over low heat and stir them consistently.
- Change up the flavors. Traditional Puerto Rican coquito shows up at Christmas. But you can serve it year-round with simple ingredient swaps.
- Ditch the holiday spices and add a pureed blend of pistachios for a cool, creamy summery treat to serve poolside. You can add Nutella, banana, strawberry, or even pumpkin spices!
- Add more coconut flavors. The recipe calls for water, but you can swap it out for coconut milk if you want even more coconut flavors. It won’t change the consistency of your coquito; it just makes it more flavorful!
- You can also add a few drops of coconut extract or shredded coconut. This takes those tropical flavors over the top.
How Long Does Coquito Last?
Coquito lasts a long time when stored properly in the fridge. You can make a big batch after Thanksgiving, which will be good until Christmas! The coquito will stay fresh for up to 2 months when stored in the fridge in an air-tight container.
The heavier ingredients (like the eggs) will settle on the bottom as it sits in the fridge. This is perfectly normal! Before serving it, give the container a good shake or stir.
It’s also important to note that it will become lumpy as it chills in the fridge. The cream of coconut re-solidifies once it gets cold. To remove the lumps, put it back in the blender before serving.
And if you really want to get ahead this holiday season, you can also freeze it! Place it in an air-tight container to stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When you’re ready to celebrate the season, let it thaw overnight in the fridge.
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