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Get to Know Coquito

What is the most quintessential American holiday beverage? Eggnog, hands down.

This delicious and creamy spiced beverage is notorious for its ability to hide high-proof alcohol quite well. But, what if we told you there’s another contender in town that’s even spicier (and friendlier to our dairy-free friends?) Its name is Coquito.

Coquito is Puerto Rico’s symbol of holiday celebration. It’s a true Christmas holiday vacation in a glass – it’s creamy, coconut-y, spicy, and appropriately boozy. Coquito has a simple recipe featuring condensed milk, evaporated milk, coconut cream, cinnamon, and grated coconut (though optional!) Just like eggnog, it is usually spiked. A good glug of Puerto Rican rum makes this beverage an easy way to warm up when it’s cold outside.

And, yes, it does get cold on a gorgeous island like Puerto Rico. Its stunning terroir features hills and mountains with peaks as high as 4000 feet, at least. You can only imagine that things can get a little chilly up there.

So, how did Coquito come to be? There are a few theories. Some say Americans brought their eggnog tradition in the 19th century, replacing whiskey or moonshine with Puerto Rican white rum. However, many argue that coquito evolved on its own, as a traditional farmer’s beverage. With sugar cane and coconut all around, it was the ideal thing to stay warm and celebrate the holidays with loved ones. Its name does mean little coconut in Spanish after all.

What we adore about Coquito is how it is a little more flexible than its American cousin. You may have noticed that the ingredients listed above didn’t feature eggs. Though some recipes may call for it, Coquito actually gets enough of its luscious creamy texture from coconut cream and evaporated milk.

The island easygoingness of Coquito doesn’t stop there. This beverage adapts to dairy-free or vegan holiday menus, with some authentic recipes preferring it that way. Though evaporated milk is a staple ingredient of Puerto Rican kitchens, it can still be entirely substituted with coconut cream, evoking a rich sense of the islands.

The Caribbean is full of excellent white rums, so which one pairs best with Coquito? Of course, Puerto Rican rum will lend the authentic touch you’re looking for. Bacardi Superior undoubtedly is a go-to choice (the brand even boasts a Coquito liquor!), though there are other beloved Puerto Rican rums that traditionally make their way into this seasonal cocktail.

Don Q’s Cristal is a signature white rum of the island – it’s pure and clean, undergoing multiple distillations. Let’s just say it slips a little too seamlessly into a coquito, so ten cuidado.

If you’d like to make a little more spiced coquito, Ron Barrilito two stars is an excellent addition. It adds a dash of holiday spirit, with tantalizing toasty aromas and dried fruit flavors, a result of its aging in “Oloroso” white oak barrels for 3 to 5 years.

We must note – just like salsa music – drinks travel too in the Caribbean. While Coquito is originally a Puerto Rican beverage, it’s also found in the neighboring Dominican Republic. where it has another name – Ponche di coco. This similar beverage offers an opportunity to dive into the world of mamajuana, or Dominican spiced rum that turns the drink into a zesty rendezvous. Candela Mamajuana spiced rum mixes easily into your Ponche di coco, adding a dose of deep caramel and spice that can only get better if you’re sitting cozy by the fire. It looks even better served in Candela’s limited edition holiday shot glasses, featured in their current gift set.

The post Get to Know Coquito appeared first on Chilled Magazine.

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