Don’t like eggnog? Give it’s tropical cousin a try – coconut-based Puerto Rican Coquito is rich, creamy, full of rum, and ready for any holiday party!
I am so horrifyingly unprepared for this holiday.
As I write this, know that it is Thursday, December 22, 9:30PM. I have 2 pies and 8 batches of cookies to bake, half of which need garnishing or decorating, before Saturday. There’s a handful of gifts to wrap – in secret, somehow – and stocking stuffers to purchase for my hubby and my pooch.
I have a rib roast to season and Brussels sprouts to prep for Sunday.
Plus there’s the usual household things that have to get done. And two 12+ hour workdays coming at me in a very short time.
To say that I’m freaking out would be an understatement.
BUT: I could absolutely not let you guys go another Christmas without the recipe for Abe’s wonderful coquito.
Thank me later.
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Since Abe and I got together so many years ago, there are three things I know to expect from the Christmas season. Pasteles, several drives around town to see holiday lights, and at least two large batches of el coquito.
It’s eggnog for the eggnog haters of the world!
(Of course, if you love eggnog too, feel free to try out my recipe for that as well!)
You’re gonna want to keep a pitcher of this in the fridge even after the holidays – it makes the best coffee creamer ever!
Just don’t add it to your off-to-work mug.
Why you’ll love this Puerto Rican coquito!
- Eggnog hater/coconut lover? Meet your new best friend!
- A super smooth and creamy drink, that can be made boozy or non-alcoholic.
- Perfect as a post-Christmas dinner dessert drink.
- Super quick and easy to prepare in advance.
What is coquito?
Coquito is a coconut-based traditional Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico, but is found throughout the Carribbean. It is often called Puerto Rican Eggnog due to its similarity to the egg-based holiday drink, but it contains no eggs.
While there are many regional variations, every recipe starts with similar base coquito ingredients. This recipe calls for:
- Coconut milk
- Coconut cream
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Evaporated milk
- Rum (white, dark, spiced, or coconut-flavored)
- Various spices and flavorings, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla
The drink is sweet and strong, often served as a shot after a large dinner.
It is also known as Crème de Vie (Cuba), Rompope (Mexico), Crémas (Haiti), and Ponche Crema (Venezuela). Some variations are sold bottled in liquor stores.
For exact ingredient measurements and recipe instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
What is the best rum for coquito?
You can really use your favorite rum here – though I’d save the top shelf stuff for sipping. We make this recipe every year, and have used everything from Captain Morgan to Bacardi to Brugal, to a mixture of whatever is left in the liquor cabinet.
Our favorite rum to use is Barcelo Añejo. Personally, we like to stick with white and añejo rum, but if you like the spiced stuff, have at it!
How to make the BEST Puerto Rican coquito
Most recipes for Coquito you’ll find have you blending up your ingredients in a blender.
This particular Abe-developed recipe involves a bit of simmering to infuse flavors prior to mixing in the rum. It’s almost like aging rum balls in record time.
However, you can also combine everything in your blender and blitz it up to Coquito goodness if you’re in a time crunch! It will still be delicious!
- Combine the milks and coconut cream in a large saucepan set over the lowest possible heat. Add vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a steady simmer and allow it to thicken slightly over the heat for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Slowly whisk in the rum and vanilla extract.
- Transfer the coquito to a large resealable pitcher or container and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Serve it as a shot, or in a cordial glass garnished with toasted coconut and cinnamon.
How do you avoid coquito curdling?
Make sure your ingredients are room temperature before mixing them – since the milks used in this recipe are all canned, that should be no problem. Whisk the rum into the coquito slowly to avoid curdling. If it ends up curdling, simply strain the coquito through a fine mesh sieve and run it through a blender.
Can I make it without rum?
Yes! Just leave it out of the recipe, and you’ll still have a delicious coconut-forward drink to sip after dinner.
Does it have to be refrigerated?
Coquito is best served chilled, and must be refrigerated before serving. It is best kept chilled afterwards.
How long does it last in the fridge?
Properly stored in an airtight container, a batch of Coquito will last for about 2 weeks. Meaning you can make it early and really infuse that rum, or enjoy it well past the holidays!
Are there any flavor variations?
Actually, yeah! We’ve played around with flavors over the years and can confidently say that these have worked with great success! Try adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of one of these ingredients and see how you like them.
- Strong coffee, like espresso
- Pineapple (piña colada, anyone?)
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Puerto Rican Coquito
- 24 ounces (2 cans) evaporated milk
- 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
- 14 ounces (1 can) coconut milk
- 15 ounces (1 can) sweetened cream of coconut
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups rum white, spiced, coconut, or a combination
- Toasted coconut for garnish (optional)
- Combine evaporated milk, condensed milk, coconut cream, and coconut milk in a large saucepan set over the lowest heat, whisking to combine. Add the cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Allow to barely simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened slightly.
- Remove from heat and cool at least 30 minutes, or to room temperature. Remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean and discard.
- Slowly whisk in vanilla extract and rum. Pour into a pitcher, cover, and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until cold.
- Serve straight in small glasses garnished or in larger ones with cubed ice. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted coconut.
- Store remaining coquito in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Properly stored in an airtight container, leftovers will keep for 2-3 weeks.
- For a less strong drink, replace the desired amount of rum with equal parts cold coconut milk or whole milk.
- For a non-alcoholic version, replace rum with one cup cold coconut milk or whole milk and one cup cold water.