Words by Jessica Freites
The LargeUp Miami office had a little holiday get-together the other night, centered around the creation and consumption of coquito. After we drank it all, we had our Boricua correspondent and the night’s chief coquito mixologist, Jessica Freites, break down the science behind Puerto Rico’s favorite winter drink.
Coquito is basically quasi Puerto Rican eggnog… except better. Perhaps I’m biased since I’m half Boricua (the other half being Dominican), and the holiday tradition of consuming the rum-spiked drink in excessive quantities has been around since my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother. Not to mention, those of PR blood take the coconut-infused beverage and its preparation quite seriously. Puerto Rico is a teeny island with a whole lot of pride and, just as pasteles are imperative on the dinner table come late December, coquito is an equally cherished cultural stamp during the winter holidays. Although there’s not much documented on the history of the drink, any Bori you ask can tell you that their family has had a special recipe before they can even remember, most likely brewed in hefty quantities, and leaving Bacardi suppliers everywhere in festive spirits.
There’s numerous variations of the recipe depending on where you’re looking or what family you ask. BUT it is absolutely necessary to make sure that the recipe has PR origins (no offense to my Dominican side) and is composed of a few key ingredients. Those primarily being coconut milk, condensed milk, white or dark rum, cinnamon, and some egg yolks to give the drink some consistency. I could give you my family’s exact recipe, but that would just be un-holy. Personally, I like to use closer to two cans of condensed milk, about a half a cup or more of pineapple juice to be a tropical rebel, and a bit of vanilla extract. Remember, the more juice and/or rum you add the thinner the consistency, and the longer you chill the more body it will have. Here’s one recipe you can follow exactly or tweak a bit to your liking:
- 1 cup dark rum
- 2 (15 oz) cans of coconut milk
- 1.5 – 2 (14 oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of salt
Blend it up, chill and serve…and for all of my Nuyoricans, think warm thoughts so you can live vicariously through your tropical brethren!