Despite many planned things I wanted to write before the end of 08, here I am, already January 5, now writing my first post of 2009.

Better late than never, eh?

Though I will do a Year in Review, I can say one thing about 2008: good riddance. Shoo!

To welcome 2009 and the promise of new and better things, I share with you the secrets of Coquito.

Coquito is Puerto Rico’s own “egg nog”-style drink, except it is tons better. It is customarilly made during the end-of-year holidays, and I am happy I was able to uphold this tradition this year in my house. Now that I have a good recipe that tastes just like the one I remember my grandmother making, I fully intend to make this a recurring tradition in my house as well (I can see this being a great nightcap with a donut during Channukah). Without further ado…

Coquito

This creamy drink might camouflague as egg nog but it is something all its own. The mixture of evaporated and condensed milk with the coconut milk and cinnamon water produces a sweet flavor that is a perfect compliment for the rum that goes along, creating a mildly sweet but deceptively strong drink perfect to share with friends. Make it ahead of time so that it gets very cold, a great refresher for tropical “winter” nights.

Ingredients
Yields 5 cups.

  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white rum
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 egg yolks, well beaten
  • Ground cinnamon for decoration

Instructions

  • Toss the cinnamon sticks in the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2-3 minutes, turn off the heat, then allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
  • Combine all the milks and the rum in a blender or food processor. If you have an immersion blender (motorboat), even better.
  • Combine all the other ingredients (except the ground cinnamon) and blend until well-mixed.
  • Pour into containers and chill. Puerto Rican tradition has it coquito must be stored in glass bottles, but I have buckled tradition there a few times. I leave it up to you where you store it.
  • Serve chilled with ground cinnamon sprinkled on top.

If you want to enhance the coconut flavor, use a bit more coconut milk or use coconut rum. Adding an extra 1/2 cup of condensed milk increases the sweetness, if you like that (and I do). You can also make the cinnamon water ahead of time and chill so that the finalized coquito has less time to go in the fridge before it is ready for drinking and sharing.

I have made coquito following the above steps and also just blending everything together at once with my immersion blender. Both times the coquito has been fantastic, so feel free to try that as well. Lastly, double up all the ingredients to make about 1/2 gallon of coquito, a perfect amount for a small party or to share a few cups with friends. If you’re having a medium to big party, be ready to make 3 or 4 times as much, because coquito goes fast. You’ve been warned.

Many thanks to Visit the Coqui website where I got the recipe for coquito, above.

Enjoy this drink and may you all have a happy new year 2009.

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