Christmas season has arrived and Puerto Ricans everywhere are thinking about Coquito… and probably homemade liquor of various flavors called Ron Caña or Pitorro similar to USA’s moonshine. Coquito is similar to eggnog, but it doesn’t contain eggs… or does it? I decided to get down to it and try few recipes to pick my favorite, including one with egg. Here are the results of my comparison exercise so you don’t have to spend tons of time searching for the right recipe.
I got two recipes passed down by one of my cousin (top two below) and one from my trusty 1970s cookbook from Dora Romano, which by now I have changed to what I have available versus what the original recipe called out. These are the three recipes I tried.
Coquito I by Chef Edgardo Noel
Coquito II by Que Rica Vida website
Coquito III by adapting Dora Romano’s recipe to what I had at hand and liked (bottom of page).
First, I had a discussion with my sister and cousin regarding to does Coquito take egg(s) or not? Most of my family is in agreement that it doesn’t take egg(s). Most Puerto Ricans will say that Ponche is the one that takes eggs. The thickness of Coquito comes from thick coconut cream, coconut milk and condensed milk. So Coquito III recipe has 1 egg yolk and is optional in my recipe version because I use canned coconut milk and cream instead of homemade coconut milk like the original recipe called for. It’s Texas and I am not really into opening coconuts and go through the whole process of make milk out of them. I feel my mom would’ve argued against canned milk, but we are here to make things easier on the diaspora and fans of Puerto Rican cuisine so canned milk it is.
Coquito III: If you want to try Coquito with the egg yolk for Coquito III, it’s fine. I added the egg for comparison purposes as that was my intent with this experiment. The texture and thickness is very similar to Coquito I recipe, which doesn’t contain eggs, but the egg made it a bit heavy to swallow. I liked Coquito III for its simplicity of ingredients and process. The flavor was similar to Coquito II at the beginning, but now 24 hrs in the fridge I have to say, that it can take more than 1/2 cup of rum if you want to add it. It can also go without if you use quality ingredients. The original recipe calls for 1.5 cup of rum, which I feel is too much for me, but it may be okay for stronger drinkers than I am. I did my version with 1/2 cup of rum and good quality coconut milk and coconut cream. It was good, particularly next day when the alcohol is just a bit of an aftertaste and you can’t really tell it has any. So my recommendation is prepare your recipe and leave it in the fridge for about 24 hrs before serving. Also, if you want to add to the bottle a stick or two of cinnamon, go for it. I did and it gave a good mellow flavor to the whole thing.
Coquito II: Well Coquito II was also very straight forward- open the cans, mix, let it cool for few hours and done. Instead of 1 – 14 oz can of coconut cream, I used 1 can of Thai Kitchen Unsweetened Organic Coconut Milk. It’s really thick compared to the Goya, and while I do love Goya, I wanted something rich and super creamy for this recipe considering I was replacing the big can of coconut cream with this milk. If you want to use other brands, just make sure they are unsweetened and creamy. If you only find sweetened then watch the amount of sugar or condensed milk you add to the recipe. This recipe was great after 24 hrs in the fridge. Considering the amount of work that goes into it is basically none, the flavor was really good and the consistency was on point. If you like Coquito less creamy then feel free to use the full cup of alcohol, I only did 1/2 cup, and use other brand of coconut milk that is less creamy.
Coquito I: This recipe is my favorite. It is the one that resembles the most to my aunties’ coquitos when I was growing up in Puerto Rico. The spices tea is a great addition. It can go without it, but the spices really bring home this recipe. I doubled the ingredients of the tea, but if you are not a fan of Anise then just keep it as the original recipe has it. I would say the perfect Coquito in my mind would be like this, but with homemade coconut milk like back home. However, the Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk worked well in this recipe and it can take the full cup of rum, if not a bit more than what it calls for. This recipe calls for Ron Puertorriqueño de Coco, which is no other than some Coconut Moonshine, Coconut Pitorro or Lagrima de Monte. I may or may not have that in my kitchen so I used 1 cup of Bacardi Superior Rum. I love Coquito and sometimes the flavor of Pitorro is too strong for me to add it to the recipe. If you happen to have local homemade Puerto Rican Coconut rum and want to use it for this recipe, let me know how it taste. I have seen some varieties by Bacardi that have Coconut flavor and Don Q, which is Puerto Rican Rum, has a Coconut flavor variety as well. I think the complexity of the flavors in this recipe allows for more play when adding alcohol to this recipe as well as for going without alcohol. It’s a wonderful recipe if you like the spices it calls for, if you don’t like them, leave them out and still has a great flavor. My husband is picky with Anise so I didn’t go crazy with it as I did with the cloves. The magic of cooking is that you can adapt to your taste very easily.
I hope you try at least one of these recipes and let me know what you think. Do you have a special recipe or would you change something else on these ones? I am all ears! Feel free to leave your comments and feedback. Maybe one day Coquito will be readily available at any grocery store in the USA, just like you can find in Puerto Rico, but even then just make your own at home. It will taste better!
Feliz Navidad y’all!
- In a blender, mix the coconut milk, cream, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and egg yolk for about a minute at high speed.
- Add the white rum and mix for about 2 minutes.
- Bottle and refrigerate the mix until ready to drink it.