Hosting a crowd this holiday season? Make any affair merrier by adding coquito to the mix! This creamy, coconut-based cocktail is a holiday-season staple in Puerto Rico – and for many families, it’s also a festive and special way to celebrate culture, tradition and community.
Coquito’s roots and creator aren’t clear, and exact ingredients and mixing techniques vary from one family to the next – but that’s all part of the fun. So, whether you’re looking to serve up some coquito for yourself or give it to someone as a gift, here’s everything you need to know about this boozy, celebratory dessert drink.
Some call coquito “Puerto Rican eggnog,” comparing the taste to a combination of eggnog and horchata. Some variations include egg yolks added either raw or custard-style, while other varieties contain no eggs at all. Whether versions with or without eggs are actually “real” coquito has long been a point of contention among purists.
Gigi Temprano, a fixture behind the bar at Old San Juan’s La Factoria, ranked one of the “World’s 50 Best Bars” for five years and counting, recalls her now-85-year-old abuelita serving up homemade coquito at Christmas parties for as long as she can remember.
“She makes her coquito with Don Q for the grown-ups,” Gigi said, “…and virgin for the kids or whoever wants a delicious, nonalcoholic Christmas drink.”
Gigi’s abuelita’s coquito recipe inspired Gigi’s own, which uses coconut, condensed and evaporated milks alongside coconut crème, vanilla, rum and spices. And while she says it’s a matter of personal preference whether to use white rum, dark rum or both when making coquito, there’s little harm in experimenting and trying it all three ways.
Using white rum is more traditional, some say, while using dark rum gives coquito a welcome hint of vanilla flavor. Some people prefer to mix the two types together in their coquito, while others remain partial to one rum type over the other.
Gigi also recommends experimenting with mix-ins. Chocolate or Nutella make great coquito additions, and she also counts coffee and strawberries among her other favorites.
If you’re a fan of rum, coconut or tropical flavors, you’re sure to love coquito – and whether you enjoy it with white rum, dark rum, eggs or eggless, count on it to brighten your spirits this holiday season.
- 1 can (15oz) coconut milk
- 1 can (14oz) condensed milk
- 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
- 1 can (15oz) coconut creme
- 1 tablespoon (1/2oz) vanilla
- 1 tablespoon (1/2oz) cinnamon
- 1 or 1 ½ cups (8oz or 8.5oz) of Don Q Cristal Rum or your rum of preference
*optional 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract or nutmeg
Mix all the ingredients in a blender or a big 48 oz container. You may use 1 cup of white rum (I suggest Don Q) or more than 1 cup, depending on how buzzy you want your coquito (keep in mind that when the coquito sits in the fridge the rum taste gets stronger). You can add 1/8 teaspoon of coconut oil or nutmeg for more Christmas flavor.
To make a non-alcoholic coquito, just use the same recipe without adding the rum.