Coquito means “Little Coconut” in Spanish, and is a traditional Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico. If you like coconut and eggnog, you’ll love Puerto Rican Coquito! This creamy coconut-based alcoholic beverage is similar to eggnog (but way better!)
I may be biased, but I truly think that Puerto Ricans are the best at celebrating Christmas, period! Nowhere else is Christmas celebrated like in Borinquen. Puerto Ricans are known for our unforgettable “parrandas or trullas navideñas”. Also called asalto navideño (literally, “Christmas time assault), a parranda is the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling. A small group of friends and/or family gathers together to “asaltar” or surprise another friend. Of course, we don’t surprise unsuspecting victims. The parranderos are given plenty of “hints” before hand by the homeowner that he are willing and able to receive a parranda.
Most parranderos play some sort of instrument, either cuatros, tamboriles (tambourines), güiro, maracas, or claves. And of course, lots of singing is absolutely involved. The parranderos arrive at the destination and then very quietly gather by the front door. At a signal, everyone starts playing their instruments and singing. The parrandas usually begin after 10pm in order to surprise and wake the sleeping friend.
The parranderos are invited in and refreshments, music and dance ensue! The party goes on for an hour or two then everyone, including the owners of the house, join the group and head to the next home. The group grows as they offer their parranda at several houses during that night. At the last house, usually around 3 or 4 in the morning, the homeowner offers a traditional chicken and rice stew (asopao de pollo). The party is usually over at dawn.
One of the most important elements of the Puerto Rican holiday season is coquito. You absolutely must have coquito ready at all time during the Navidad! If you like coconut and eggnog, you’ll love Puerto Rican Coquito! Coquito is a thick and creamy coconut drink that mixes silky coconut milk with sweet cream of coconut with warm spices like cinnamon and vanilla, and of course, rum!
Some versions of coquito contain eggs or egg yolks, but I didn’t grow up making it that way, so I don’t include eggs in mine. If your abuelita makes her coquito with eggs, then by all means, go for it! If you’d like to make this non-alcoholic, that’s perfectly fine too. Everyone should experience the magic of Puerto Rican coquito.
Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Eggnog)
This rich, authentic coquito recipe is commonly made during Christmas where it is served cold and meant to be shared with family and friends.
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 can cream of coconut the stuff you use for pina coladas
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup light or dark rum or more or less, to your taste
In a blender, add evaporated milk, cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum (if using), vanilla extract and spices. Blend on high until mixture is well combined, 1-2 minutes.
Pour coquito mixture into glass bottles; cover. Transfer to refrigerator. Chill for 1-2 hours, or until cold.
To serve, stir or shake bottle well to combine. Pour coquito into small serving glasses. Garnish with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, if desired.
For even more coconut flavor, use coconut flavored rum!
For a nonalcoholic version, just omit the rum.