Well, hello there, Sunshine. Please have a seat while I tell you about my favorite cocktail. It’s called coquito (koh-kee-toh), and it’s a Puerto Rican coconut-rum drink that’s traditional for the holidays. I first tasted it a few years ago when a dinner guest brought me a bottle of his homemade coquito as a gift. My immediate reaction was, “Shut the door, hold the phone, get out of town, where has this been all my life?!!”
If you’ve never tried it, coquito is similar to eggnog, but so much better! There are no eggs in this version, although some non-traditional recipes might call for a couple of yolks. Instead, this coquito gets its decadent richness from cream of coconut, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. It all gets blended with white rum, vanilla, and cinnamon and needs to chill for at least a few hours in the refrigerator to thicken and allow the flavors to develop. Yum!
This year, I decided I to make my own coquito, but I wanted it to be authentic. So, I contacted my friend Zaida, who hails from Puerto Rico, and asked if she had a recipe to share. She generously offered a couple different versions, and after dutifully testing them out with my hubby and making minor adjustments…I went to bed feeling very sleepy but happy.
“Smiling’s my favorite…” when I’m drinking coquito.
After chilling overnight, the coquito was fabulous first thing in the morning. I mean…I’m guessing it would taste fabulous first thing in the morning…(shifting my eyes from left to right)…okay, you got me! Just give it enough time to chill, all right?
In full disclosure, I have to tell you the cream of coconut can listed three ingredients I wasn’t wild about, given my efforts to cut down on processed foods. I tried using coconut milk instead, but the consistency was too runny here. However…it’s the holidays, and this drink is so delicious. (I heart coquito, in case you didn’t notice my evergreen design in the top photo.)
And really, this coconut-rum drink is dessert in a glass. I don’t even want to know how many calories are involved. But I probably should eat salad for the next couple of days.
Buon Natale, my friends! Enjoy!
(Recipe Source: Adapted slightly from a recipe given to me by my beautiful friend Zaida, who got it from her husband Javier)