How to make “coquito,” Puerto Rico’s coconut version of eggnog

Coquito is a traditional Puerto Rican beverage that’s made with coconut and rum.
Coquito is a traditional Puerto Rican beverage that’s made with coconut and rum.
Image: AP Photo/Matthew Mead
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One of the best parts of the winter holidays in the US is seeing how people incorporate unique cultural traditions into their family feasts.

In the US, eggnog is often served alongside a spiral-cut, glazed ham at Christmas dinner, for instance. My family, instead, accompanies pernil, or roasted pork shoulder, with coquito. Coquito is a traditional Puerto Rican cocktail that’s made with coconut and rum instead of the egg whites and whiskey usually found in eggnog.

Everyone has their own way of concocting the holiday cocktail. I took control of my family’s coquito recipe awhile back. I spent years fine-tuning it from a worn cookbook in my parents’ kitchen. It replaces real coconut, which is difficult to find in New York in the dead of winter, with the canned variety.

Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl:

1 15-ounce can cream of coconut + 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (or 2 ripe coconuts baked, grated, and strained of milk)

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 5-ounce can evaporated milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

3 cups dark rum

Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth, about 20 seconds. Do this in portions.

Pour the mixture into bottles (the empty rum bottle works well) and cap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg or ground cinnamon, and a cinnamon stick.