This coquito is thick and creamy with lots of coconut and rum! The holidays aren’t complete without this classic Puerto Rican drink! [VIDEO included!]
What is Coquito?
It’s a Puerto Rican coconut rum cocktail that’s especially popular around the holidays.
Coquito means little coconut.
It’s thick and creamy, spiced with cinnamon and oh so delicioso!
It’s also known as “Puerto Rican eggnog” although my version does not have eggs in it. (More on that later.)
Many cultures have some type of creamy Christmas drink – boiled custard in the southern USA, rompope in Mexico, ponche crema in Venezuela and the list goes on.
Puerto Rican coquito is special because it uses coconut milk.
There are so many ways to make coquito! I think every person must have their own special way.
I love the personal touches we all add and how we carry on tradition.
This here is a basic coquito recipe. It’s fantastic, but please feel free to use this as a starting point for your own tastes!
I’ve noted different variations below (including coquito with eggs) and the final recipe is at the end.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Coconut milk
- Cream of coconut
- Evaporated milk
- Sweetened condensed milk
Originally coquito is made with fresh coconut milk squeezed from grated coconut.
Kudos to la gente who still do that! Fresh tastes best.
For the rest of us who use electricity and other modern conveniences, canned coconut milk is just fine.
I like Goya coconut milk. It doesn’t have a lot of additives and comes with a nice thick layer of coconut cream on top.
Cream of Coconut
Cream of coconut AKA Coco Lopez – adds lots of coconut flavor, plus it’s thick and sweet.
It’s also the main ingredient in Piña Coladas.
If you would like your coquito to be less sweet with a more mild coconut flavor, you can use an extra can of coconut milk instead of the cream of coconut.
On the other hand, if you like a super strong coconut candy taste, you could skip the coconut milk and just use 1 or 2 cans of cream of coconut!
Are you beginning to see how many different ways there are on how to make coquito?
Have fun and experiment!
Sweetened condensed milk – adds sweetness and thickens the coquito.
If you want to reduce the amount to half a can, it will still be sweet enough with the cream of coconut.
Evaporated milk – does anyone make their coquito recipe without this?
It’s needed to balance all the other ingredients without diluting the creaminess.
Best Rum for Coquito
Puerto Rican rum of course!!!
Don Q is the most popular brand in Puerto Rico.
We’re currently stationed in Japan and can’t get that, so I went with Bacardi which is available just about everywhere (and made in Puerto Rico).
Barcardi 151 is a favorite for some.
Whether you prefer white or dark rum is up to you.
How to Make Coquito
- Mix the coconut milk, cream of coconut, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon and nutmeg very well in a blender.
- Add rum and blend.
- Bottle and refrigerate until completely chilled. The flavors get better if it chills overnight!
- Shake well and serve ice cold.
Coconut milk and cream of coconut separate and solidify so it needs to be blended well.
I stir the rum into the mix lastly after the other ingredients have been blended.
Part of the reason I add it last is that my blender just isn’t big enough (you might need to work in batches).
And the other reason is so that I can set some aside without alcohol for my pregnant friends and kids to drink.
I start off with 1 1/2 cups which equals 1 shot per 1 cup serving. You can add more to your taste.
Other Coquito Ingredients:
These ingredients are more “to taste.”
I like my coquito recipe with cinnamon and nutmeg, but not too much.
And I’m a stickler about grating my own nutmeg! I never liked nutmeg until I had it fresh.
If you like all the spices of Fall or spiced rum, go for it!
Just start slowly since you can always add more!
I typically don’t add vanilla so the coconut flavor can shine, but when I do, I always use pure Mexican vanilla. It’s the best hands down.
My favorite brand is Gaya brand (not Goya) from Mexico if you can get it. I also like Nielsen-Massey vanilla and they’re from my hometown Waukegan, IL!
If you have any other ingredients you like to include, please share them with us in the comments below!
Some people love different flavors like Nutella Coquito or Pistachio Coquito and get really creative with their recipes.
Are there eggs in coquito?
In all my classic Puerto Rican cookbooks, yes eggs are used in coquito.
But some people argue it is NOT coquito if eggs are used.
Maybe raw eggs fell out of use due to salmonella awareness.
I’m not sure, but personally I do not use eggs in coquito even though I have no problem with raw eggs.
(Try my pumpkin eggnog with eggs! It tastes better than any pumpkin milkshake or pumpkin spice latte you’ll ever have!)
The reason I don’t use eggs in coquito is because they add richness and thicken it up.
It’s already perfectly thick and creamy without!
How to make coquito with eggs (safely)
- Whisk 3 egg yolks with the can of evaporated milk and cook over a double boiler, stirring constantly until thick (about 5-10 mins).
- Eggs are safe at 160F if you have a thermometer. If not, you’ll see the mixture coat the back of a spoon. Run a finger over the spoon and your finger trail should stay clear when it’s ready.
- Add the mixture to the blender with the other ingredients and continue with the recipe.
I would use 3 egg yolks, but you could use 2 or 4 depending how you like it. The more you use the richer and thicker it will be.
How long does coquito last?
Coquito will last for 2 months in the refrigerator, and possibly up to 6 months. If using eggs or omitting alcohol, it will only last a few days.
Why did my coquito solidify?
Even after blending well the coconut fat will start to rise to the top and solidify when chilled. This is normal and totally ok! Just shake well before pouring.
I prefer glass bottles. Save bottles during the year to reuse.
My festive green bottle is from a special beer my husband purchased.
Or you can buy bottles from Amazon. I was also able to get some cute ones from the dollar store.
If you don’t have bottles, you can also use mason jars or other recycled glass jars with lids.
Check out other classic Puerto Rican Recipes:
Puerto Rican Beans (Habichuelas Guisadas) <–the most popular recipe!
Puerto Rican Rice (Arroz con Gandules)
Pernil (Roast Pork Shoulder)
Flan de Queso (Cream Cheese Flan)
- 1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
- 1 can (15 oz) cream of coconut
- 1 can (14 oz) evaporated milk
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups of rum
- Glass bottles
- Electric blender
- In a blender mix the coconut milk, cream of coconut, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Blend on high speed until well combined and no lumps remain, about 1 minute.
- Stir in rum (or blend with other ingredients if blender is large enough). Pour into bottles and seal.
- Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.
- Before serving, shake bottle to re-blend. Serve cold.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 65mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.