As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm golden glow over the picturesque landscapes of Puerto Rico, our quest for the perfect coquito began. We searched high and low. It was a journey filled with anticipation and disappointment, trying to find this elusive cocktail. Our flavorful journey led us from Fajardo to Cabo Rojo through bustling markets, hidden gems, and eventually to a heartwarming Christmas Eve family gathering.
So, what is Coquito? Often referred to as “Puerto Rican eggnog,” it is a creamy and rich drink made with coconut, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, spices, and a generous splash of rum. The drink has deep cultural roots and is often passed down through generations, with families having unique recipe variations, which might explain why the cocktail eluded us until Christmas Eve when it was served at our aunt’s house. (side note: the sell coquito is already made in the grocery/liquor store, but it doesn’t compare to old family recipes). Below is a twist on the culmination of both sides of my family recipes. My mother’s family recipe calls for coconuts, which is tedious and time-consuming. My father’s recipe calls for rum, and cognac is optional; however, rum is a must. Below is my take on the recipe.
- 2 cans (27 oz each) coconut milk
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- 1 cup white rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Optional: cinnamon sticks and additional nutmeg for garnish
- In a blender, combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, white rum, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.
- Blend the ingredients until well combined and smooth.
- Taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness or rum content according to your preference.
- Pour the coquito mixture into a large bottle or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Chill the coquito in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
- Before serving, shake the bottle or jar well to ensure the mixture is fully mixed.
- Pour the coquito into small glasses, garnish with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg, and optionally add a cinnamon stick for decoration.
In the end, we found more than just the perfect coquito – we discovered the true essence of Puerto Rican hospitality and the warmth of shared moments. As we bid farewell to the enchanting island of Puerto Rico, the taste of coquito served as a delicious reminder of the memories created and the bonds strengthened during our quest for the best coquito. Until the next adventure, may your cups be filled with the spirit of Puerto Rican joy and the rich flavors of this cherished holiday tradition. ¡Salud!