Authentic Coquito (Coconut Eggnog)

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A traditional coquito recipe passed down to my husband from his late abuelito, Don Francisco. Rich, creamy, and absolutely decadent, this authentic coquito is the best coquito recipe made with two different types of rum, thick coconut cream, and warm holiday spice!

I grew up in Miami, Florida where Christmas coquito was handed to everyone the moment you walk into a Hispanic family's door in December (non-alcoholic coquito was given to us kids). They even had coquito at Santa's Enchanted Forest, a very old, kitschy Christmas theme park that shows up on the side of the Palmetto Expressway and is a true Miami tradition!

When my husband and I started dating as kids, I started celebrating Nochebuena with his family. Nochebuena is Christmas Eve, Latino style. Extended family and friends gather at the house, play dominos (loudly), dance to a mix of 90's hip hop and merengue music, open gifts, and get drunk off many bottles of coquito. And I do mean many because everyone will have multiple glasses of the stuff, it's just that good!

Coquito (pronounced ko-kee-toh) translates to 'little coconut' in English and is the Christmas eggnog everyone should be drinking. There's no debate here like there is with regular eggnog *who loves eggnog?! Who hates eggnog?!* because nobody hates coquito. It's rich and creamy, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, nice and sweet and thick from using coconut cream along with coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk.

Did I mention that we're using two types of rum in this, too? Coconut + rum + sweet, creamy, Christmas-spiced goodness = the best holiday drink ever. Period, hands down, argue with your granny.

Jump to:

Origins of Coquito

Coquito originated in Puerto Rico, and its creation is an intersection of the different cultures of Puerto Rico melding together.

The European colonizers brought to the island a drink called posset, which is warm milk curdled with a type of alcohol, usually brandy, sherry, or wine, but the colonizers utilized the local island rum made by the Tainos.

overhead shot of two glasses of puerto rican coquito on a wood platter with cinnamon sticks, anise seed, and nutmeg, surrounded by holiday lights

Then the coconuts were imported to the island by kidnapped Africans through the transatlantic slave trade. This is how coconut was added to the drink; in fact, I know quite a few Puerto Ricans (like our maintenance guy, Mike) who say the way to make real coquito is to shave the inside of the coconut by hand!

After the United States gained control of Puerto Rico, American processed foods including sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk made it to the island and was added to coquito, finalizing the delicious Christmas-time imbibe we know and love today.

Many different countries around the Caribbean and South America, including Cuba and the Dominican Republic, have their own versions of coquito (the Dominican version is barely changed by adding Dominican rum and egg yolks while Cuba adds coconut ice cream).

Making it from Scratch

The main ingredients of coquito, no matter the recipe or island, are coconut cream, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and rum. There are variations like Nutella coquito and strawberry coquito, but the base of all coquito is coconut and rum.

Can I Make Vegan Coquito?

Yes! Don't use egg yolks and replace the sweetened condensed milk with sweetened condensed coconut milk! Same with the evaporated milk, just use more coconut milk!

Ingredients

Coco Lopez Coconut Cream. Okay, listen. If you want that nice, intensely coconut-y, super creamy coquito, use Coco Lopez. I've used other brands and they never gave me that thickness, that creamy rich texture, the serious coconut flavor with all those nice coconut bits. Coco Lopez is the one.

a cup of coquito sits with cinnamon sticks and a Christmas ornament along with a measuring cup full of Coco Lopez cream of coconut

I found it at Walmart in the area where you find alcohol mixers, but I know that may only be because I live in Miami. If you can't find it at your local store, Coco Lopez is available on Amazon, too. My mom also uses it to make one of my favorite dishes, Oxtails with Coconut Rice.

Coconut milk. It keeps the coquito from being too thick without having to dilute the coconut flavor.

Evaporated milk.

Sweetened Condensed Milk. No stove top needed here where you have to melt down sugar or create a simple syrup or anything else that requires a lot of work and not a lot of coquito drinking. This gives all the sweetness we're looking for.

Vanilla Extract.

Rum.

Cinnamon and Freshly Grated Nutmeg. Trust me, get yourself the whole nutmeg (found in your spice aisle!), and just grate it with a Microplane. Your coquito and your holiday parties will thank you! The flavor is just 1000x better!

Egg Yolks. We add them, but they are OPTIONAL. Egg yolks are an emulsifier, which helps keep the coquito from separating while chilling in your fridge, and they are a thickener so if you like the thickness of eggnog, adding fresh egg yolks will give you that. Make sure they're from eggs you've just bought this week, y'all because they aren't cooked. They can also be added later if you're storing the coquito for a long time.

What Alcohol Can I Use?

Rum is traditional, specifically Puerto Rican rum. And if you don't want the Puerto Ricans coming to your blog to yell at you, you specifically mention Bacardi. Puerto Rican rum is the way to go.

I know people who use Hennessey (not a fan personally) but if that's what you like, add some with the rum!

bacardi rum and brugal rum sit with coco lopez and a glass of coquito

I use part Brugal, which Brian was adamantly insistent on. Brugal is a dark Dominican rum that his grandfather used for coquito as well. It has a strong burn, so don't go too crazy with it. It's not hard to find, I actually ordered my bottle off Instacart for around $15, but they have more expensive Brugal rum (some that have won awards, even) online.

I also use Bacardi coconut rum. I've made batches with Bacardi white rum but preferred the added coconut flavor from the coconut rum. Puerto Ricans would have my head if I didn't add Bacardi.

When it comes to adding the alcohol, do it to taste. Start off small, like ½ a cup, and keep adding until the coquito has just enough rum to taste and warm you up...unless you like more, then put more, just know that you're gonna have one heck of a Christmas party.

Coquito with Eggs or without Eggs?

I like it with egg yolks, I also like it without. The egg yolks thicken the coquito up to an eggnog type of thickness, but it means that you'll only be able to keep it in the fridge for up to a week because of the egg yolks.

Keeping the coquito egg-free allows you to keep it refrigerated for up to 6 months thanks to the alcohol content and tastes absolutely delicious. And you can always experiment by blending up an egg yolk with some of the coquito when you're ready to serve.

coquito sitting on a rustic wood serving platter with fresh christmas tree branches, cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, nutmeg, holiday lights, and ornaments

Virgin Coquito (Perfect for the Kids!)

Like I said, even the kids love coquito for the holidays. And you know everyone deserves to be involved in the merriment. All you have to do is remove the rum and sub it with more coconut milk! Remove the egg yolks if you have little ones under the age of five, too.

Blend up the other ingredients until well combined. You can make a fun coquito milkshake by adding coconut ice cream and just a little (maybe ½ tsp) rum extract for flavor.

Make Ahead and Storing your Coquito

The thing about coquito is that you'll find it stored in just about any container with a lid on it. Probably in an empty Bacardi bottle, probably in an empty 2 liter of Coca Cola, probably in some fancy pitcher for guests only, but it doesn't matter so long as it has a lid.

Fat, including coconut fat, absorbs flavors so a lid is important. You don't want onion flavored coquito, do you?

Coquito must be refrigerated, since it's made with dairy (and eggs, if using), and the longer you let it rest the better the taste, in my honest opinion. So make the coquito ahead, at least a day and up to about three days before serving. It doesn't need more than three days to have all the flavors perfectly together.

close up of a cinnamon-sugar rimmed glass of authentic puerto rican coquito, garnished with nutmeg and cinnamon, sitting with holiday ornaments

Pro Tip: Store your coquito with a cinnamon stick or two in the bottle, it gives even more holiday flavor!

Storing without Eggs

Storing Puerto Rican coquito without eggs last longer, up to 6 entire months in the fridge while the one with eggs lasts for about a week.

It will separate in the bottle after a while, and that's perfectly okay. Separation is natural, y'all. Give it a really good shake or whip it back up in your blender and it's good to go.

If you freeze your coquito, just know that it can go semi-solid/mostly solid. I've had it happen.

How to Know if it's Gone Bad

Coquito should smell sweet, full of cinnamon, and delicious! When it smells or tastes like sour milk, welp your coquito's time is up! Toss it when it smells sour.

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📖 Recipe

Authentic Coquito (Coconut Eggnog)

Eden Westbrook
A traditional coquito recipe passed down to my husband from his late abuelito, Don Francisco. Rich, creamy, and absolutely decadent, this authentic coquito is the best coquito recipe made with two different types of rum, thick coconut cream, and warm holiday spice!
4.83 from 89 votes
Prep Time 7 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 7 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Hispanic
Servings 20 servings
Calories 115 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can 15 oz cream of coconut (Coco Lopez brand preferred)
  • 1 can 15 oz coconut milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks optional
  • ½ to 1 cup Brugal or dark spiced rum
  • ½ to 1 cup Bacardi white rum or coconut rum
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Cinnamon sticks star anise, ground nutmeg for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Pour the cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, spices, vanilla, and egg yolks (if using) into the blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes.
  • Depending on your like of alcohol, start with ½ cup each of Brugal and Bacardi, give a good blend in the blender for about 30 seconds, and taste. If you like more, add another ½ cup of Bacardi or Brugal and blend. Taste again. I wouldn't suggest putting more than 2 cups of rum in the coquito.
  • Pour the coquito in a bottle with a lid that can make it air-tight with a couple of sticks of cinnamon, and let chill in the fridge at least 4 hours to overnight or up to three days before serving. This helps all the flavors blend together.
  • Serve cold in a glass with a cinnamon stick or sprinkled with ground nutmeg and an anise seed on top of each glass.

Video

Notes

Virgin Coquito

All you have to do is remove the rum and sub it with an equal amount of coconut milk and add a small amount of rum extract, no more than a teaspoon. Remove the egg yolks if you have little ones under the age of five, too.
Blend up the other ingredients until well combined. You can make a fun coquito milkshake by adding coconut ice cream and just a little (maybe ½ tsp) rum extract for flavor.

Can I Make Vegan Coquito?

Yes! Don't use egg yolks and replace the sweetened condensed milk with sweetened condensed coconut milk. Same with the evaporated milk, just use more coconut milk!

Make Ahead and Storing your Coquito

The thing about coquito is that you'll find it stored in just about any container with a lid on it. Fat, including coconut fat, absorbs flavors so a lid is important. You don't want onion flavored coquito, do you?
Coquito must be refrigerated, since it's made with dairy (and eggs, if using), and the longer you let it rest the better the taste, in my honest opinion. So make the coquito ahead, at least a day and up to about three days before serving. It doesn't need more than three days to have all the flavors perfectly together.

Storing without Eggs

Storing Puerto Rican coquito without eggs last longer, up to 6 entire months in the fridge while the one with eggs lasts for about a week.
It will separate in the bottle after a while, and that's perfectly okay. Separation is natural, y'all. Give it a really good shake or whip it back up in your blender and it's good to go.
If you freeze your coquito, just know that it can go solid/mostly solid. I've had it happen even with the alcohol (not rock solid, but hard to pour).

How to Know if it's Gone Bad

Coquito should smell sweet, full of cinnamon, and delicious! When it smells or tastes like sour milk, welp your coquito's time is up! Toss it when it smells sour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 115kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 48mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5g
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One Comment

  1. Terrie Leighliter says:

    Made this for a woman's event ... I don't usually like rum, but this was really good ... couldn't get the Brugal so used Kraken Dark Spiced Rum and Bacardi ... so tasty! Will post again after event to give group vote!