Rum has long played a role in celebrations and gatherings in Caribbean culture. The tradition of sharing coquito, a festive libation during the holiday season, continues to expand beyond the region with many home-grown recipes.
National Coquito Day is December 21
It’s a day to celebrate Holiday Coquito, a creamy rich and delicious rum concoction often compared to eggnog. Meant to be shared with family and friends, coquito is most often associated with the rums of Puerto Rico.
While there is no specific data as to the exact date of the creation of the first Coquito, historians place the birth of this drink around 1900. The first published Coquito recipes appeared in the Puerto Rican cookbooks, “Cocine a Gusto” and “The Puerto Rican Cookbook,” between 1950 and 1970.
The Coquito has since evolved from its original version of rum and cream of coconut to include an array of flavors, ranging from almond to pistachio to chocolate. Puerto Rican Rum is always featured as the main ingredient in this distinctive cocktail.
It seems that every family has their own recipe with myriad variations on the theme of a creamy, tropical coconut inspired punch. Holiday Coquito is easy to make. It’s fun to share. It’s a seasonal delicacy that signals a return to simple pleasures and family gatherings.
Let’s start with a traditional recipe from the Serrallés family of Ponce, on the south shore of Puerto Rico. Known for making Don Q rums, they are one of America’s oldest family-owned businesses with a rum making tradition that spans six generations and more than 150 years.
The Serrallés Family Coquito Recipe
- 3 cans evaporated milk
- 1 can cream of coconut
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups Don Q Cristal rum
- add cinnamon to garnish
Method: blend the liquid ingredients at high speed for two minutes, pour into empty bottle and refrigerate for at least four hours. It’s even better after two or three days). Serve in a small glass and sprinkle with cinnamon.
More recipes follow. Enjoy the variations on National Coquito Day. Happy holidays.
Be sure to share your favorite National Coquito Day recipes on social media and use the hashtag: #NationalCoquitoDay
Santaella Restaurant Coquito, San Juan
- 3 cups fresh coconut milk
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 15-ounce can cream of coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 cups Don Q Gran Añejo
Method: combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum in a blender and process on high speed until the mixture is foamy, about 2 minutes. Pour the coquito into a clean glass, bottle, or pitcher and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. (It will keep, refrigerated, for at least 3 weeks.) To serve, pour into individual glasses and garnish with more cinnamon.
Silvia Santiago, Don Q’s Master Blender
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 lb sugar
- 1/4 cup vanilla
- 5 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
- 5 10-ounce cans coconut cream
- 6 cinnamon sticks with 6 lime peels (about 1 cup)
- 1.75 liters Don Q Añejo rum
Method: boil the cinnamon sticks with the lime peels in one cup of water. Let it cool and strain before adding to the mix. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients. Yields about 5 liters. Keep refrigerated.
Chef Mario Pagan, San Juan – Pumpkin Coquito
- 14 oz cream of coconut
- 25 oz coconut milk
- 15 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- 6 oz steamed and pureed pumpkin
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 star annise
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp fresh nutmeg
- Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum to taste
Method: heat up the milks with the spices in a heavy bottom pan, stirring constantly to prevent burning. When a rolling boil is reached, shut off heat and let steep with a properly fitting lid. After 20 minutes, remove spices, add the pumpkin and process in a blender until smooth. Add the rum to taste, cover and let chill from 6 to 24 hours.
Chef Wilo Benet, San Juan
- 3 cinnamon sticks (ground finely)
- 7 star anise pods (ground finely)
- 2 pints of premium vanilla ice cream
- 5 cans of coconut cream
- 3 cans of condensed milk
- 3 cans of evaporated milk
- 1 750ml bottle of Don Q Cristal rum
- 1 cup of Baileys
- 1 cup of Cognac
Method: mix all the ingredients with an immersion blender thoroughly and refrigerate. Serve cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
Chef Jose Enrique, San Juan
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1 can cream of coconut
- 3 ounces Don Q Cristal
- 3 ounces Don Q Añejo
Method: mix in blender, and add cinnamon stick. Place in fridge and enjoy!
Roberto Berdecia from La Factoria (World’s 50 Best Bars), San Juan
- 15 ounces coconut cream
- 14 ounces condensed milk
- 16 ounces evaporated milk
- 16 ounces Don Q Gold rum
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 6 cloves
- 6 balls of malagueta (allspice)
- 1 pinch of nutmeg powder
- 2 drops of vanilla extract
- grated coconut (optional to taste)
Method: in a pot, put the evaporated milk together with cinnamon, anise, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes stirring constantly, but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat, strain the spices and put the liquid in a blender with condensed milk, coconut cream, Don Q Gold rum, vanilla and optional grated coconut. Blend until all the ingredients are well mixed. Place in bottles and refrigerate before consuming.
For more information about types of rum, see Rob’s Rum Guide tutorials.
To stay informed about news and updates in the world of rum, subscribe to Robs Rum Guide.
View insightful and succinct video rum reviews: Rum Minute YouTube Channel.
Experience the ultimate rum travel adventure: Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise.