How to Make Coquito
Coquito is like eggnog, but better. Served predominately in Puerto Rico, where it originated, it is a rich, milky rum drink sweetened with curls of coconut cream, not to mention both evaporated milk and condensed milk. Pass it out to family and friends in little cordial or shot glasses sprinkled over with fresh ground cinnamon during the holidays; it will quell the complaining of even the most crotchety uncle.
This Coquito recipe, in particular, is from the family that has been distilling Don Q rum, the most popular rum brand in Puerto Rico, since the 1860s. It serves a crowd. But, if you prefer to keep it for yourself (we wouldn't pass judgment), it stays good and even improves in flavor in the fridge for days to come. Which reminds us: Give yourself at least four hours—better yet, a whole night—to refrigerate your Coquito after blending it, before serving it. 'Tis the season for drinking richly.
A Little Background
Coquito literally means "little coconut" in Spanish. If you're referring to the size of the serving glass from which you slug Coquito, "little" makes sense. If you're referring to the character of Coquito, how it wraps you up in heavy folds of decadent milk and coconut sweetness, then perhaps "little" isn't quite apt. No matter. No one seems to be able to pinpoint the exact origins of Coquito in Puerto Rico. What is known is that jugs of it are served (or gifted to others) in December through Three King's Day on January 6. In Latin America, Christmas festivities end on Three King's Day, or the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates those three kings, their journey to the little baby Jesus, and the gifts they brought along with them. Recipes for Coquito are passed down through families over the years, through the seasons, and so rarely will two be the same.
If You Like This, Try These
We stand by what we said: Coquito is like Eggnog, but better. However, if you are an Eggnog purist, begging to inject that creamy, eggy stuff straight into your veins this holiday season, we have a recipe for the homemade variety. Spiked, of course. A Tom and Jerry (this recipe is big enough to serve a party) is similar to Eggnog, only warm. And in Mexico, Rompope is made instead of Eggnog; it has fruits, spices, rum or aguardiente, and egg yolks, making its color a pale yellow. In the spirit of the holidays, we'll also direct you to Champagne Punch, as well as Mulled Red Wine and Christmas Rum Punch.
Food styling by Sean Dooley
Prop styling by Emily Hirsch
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.