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Coquito meaning "Little Coconut" in Spanish is a traditional Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico. The coconut-based alcoholic beverage is similar to eggnog, sometimes being called the Puerto Rican Eggnog. The mixed drink is made with Puerto Rican rum, coconut milk, cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. 
|Served||Strained and Chilled|
|Standard garnish||Cinnamon, Nutmeg|
|Standard drinkware||Irish Coffee mug or shot glass|
|Commonly used ingredients||
May be made with or without egg yolk.
|Preparation||Place ingredients into blender and blend until fully mixed. Chill blended drink until cold and serve in shot glasses. Garnish with lightly sprinkled cinnamon or nutmeg.|
The traditional Christmas drink, Coquito, was originally found in Puerto Rico. However, drinks similar to Coquito can be found all throughout the Caribbean. There are two different theories about the origin of the drink. Some believe the person who created Coquito is unknown along with how the recipe began.
Others say that the Puerto Rican drink was brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish during Puerto Rico's colonial period. The Spanish took their version of "eggnog" and combined it with the local rum creating Coquito. As they continued to travel and settle in other areas the drink followed them creating different variations around the Caribbean. The variations are very similar to what they considered the original recipe: milk, sugar. Although this was seen as the original ingredient, Puerto Rico altered it by adding coconut.
The recipe has 4 main ingredients but is not limited to these:
- Coconut milk
- Coconut cream
- Puerto Rican rum
- Sweetened condensed milk.
The Puerto Rican mixed drink resembles eggnog and is usually served after dinner in a shot glass. Some prepare the drink with eggs while others don’t. The drink is known to be sweet and strong (with rum).
Many families have their own variations of the recipe that are passed down through generations. The drink will be seen as early as Thanksgiving and as late as Día de los Reyes. That being said the drink makes its main appearance during the Christmas season.
Coquito has become much more popular as more people hear about the drink. The drink can be found bottled in supermarkets and grocery stores for consumers to buy pre-made. Along with being in stores, there are competitions like Coquito Masters, which is an annual competition at the Museo del Barrio in New York City.
Jimmy Fallon is reportedly a fan, and has mentioned the drink occasionally in episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. David Begnaud, regularly associated to Puerto Rico by his coverage of Hurricane Maria and other events on the island, famously served the hosts and staff of CBS This Morning with several bottles of coquito on the show's 2021 New Year's Eve broadcast.
There are many variations of Coquito based on location and family traditions. Although all these variations are unique in their own way, they all have one thing in common and that generally is rum, although some prefer to make it with another alcohol such as the Spanish liquor 43. Some recipes includes egg yolks, similar to eggnog, alternatively called ponche de coco literally coconut punch also known as ponche de Coquíto.
Thanksgiving prepares a unique Coquito adding spiced rum, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin purée.
In Arecibo, Puerto Rico Coquito made with lemon zest, vanilla, and ginger with no spices was once popular.
Pitorro rum ranges from 80-100 proof. Pittorro is also used to make Coquito. In this case Coquito made with pittorro is served in shot glasses sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Depending on the ingredient of choice, Coquito can be prepared over the stove top or in a blender. Gently cooking the ingredients thickens the drink, keeps it from separating and has a longer shelf life. This method usually contains eggs. Rum, vanilla and other extracts are added after it cools. Adding all ingredients with ground spices to blender makes a fast alternative with no eggs. This usually result in the drink to separate after a few minutes and the fat from the coconut to solidifying causing a chunky Coquito with lumps. Coquito is poured in to glass bottles with one or two cinnamon sticks. After Coquito is prepared and chilled for a few hours it is ready to be served but best made two weeks or more in advance for full flavor.
El Museo del Barrio in New York City hosts an annual Coquito Tasting Contest called Coquito Masters on Three Kings Day in January. The competition was first established in 2002 and continues each year.
Coquíto de guayaba is a drink made in Puerto Rico for the holidays. The drink is made from guava paste cooked with cream cheese, evaporated milk, condensed milk, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and vanilla and rum is added once cooled. Coconut milk, coconut cream and egg yolks can also be added.
- Cole, Corinne (December 28, 2012). "A Coquito Story". thelatinkitchen.
- Coquito Recipe - Puerto Rican Rum Eggnog
- Santos, Mariela (May 28, 2017). "A Brief History of Coquito from Puerto Rico". culture trip.
- Hofmann, Regan (December 22, 2014). "Coquito: Puerto Rico's Tropical Take on Eggnog".
- Elder, Kara (December 21, 2018). "Coquito is the creamy, tropical drink that's better than eggnog — and easier to make" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
- Marrero, Juan (2020-12-31). "David Begnaud prueba por primera vez el coquito". Metro (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-01-01.