Coconut Eggnog Recipe: Puerto Rican Coquito

updated Feb 3, 2020
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(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

You’re either an eggnog person, or you’re not. I’m convinced that most people who say they don’t like it are holding a grudge not against its flavor, but against the fact that it has the potential to get you totally bombed and make your clothes no longer fit all in one go. For me, it’s that slick layer of fat that builds on the roof of my mouth if the eggnog is too fatty.

Coquito, the Puerto Rican answer to eggnog, is no exception with its heavy cream, condensed milk, cream of coconut, and egg yolks, but the coconut appeals to my Latin-sensibility so I decided to experiment with a lightened-up coquito for an upcoming holiday gathering.

I spoke with Daisy Martinez, a Puerto Rican chef, cookbook author and television personality, who schooled me on the coquito spirit. Her advice was to keep it decadent and rich, but she charmed me with her holiday memories, so I tried to preserve the luscious coquito tradition with my adaptation.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Daisy told me that the very first time she had coquito, it was an alcohol-free version her mom made.

“I was sure that that was what heaven tasted like! I have always loved all things coconut, and that little glass of coquito was the closest thing to rapture my eight year old self had experienced. Of course it was extra-special because my mom involved me in the process of making it (I was usually on coconut grating detail).”

Most coquito recipes call for cream of coconut (“Coco Lopez”) and sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream, which I just can’t do. So I asked Daisy if regular coconut milk could be substituted for the Coco Lopez, but she said that it would compromise the body and the sweetness of the drink. To be honest, the body and sweetness of coquito are the two things that were potentially overpowering for me, so I tried it anyway — and liked it!

With these unorthodox changes in hand, I asked Daisy about what makes a truly traditional coquito recipe and she said that the way her family made it was with hand-grated coconut, rinsed and wrung out with a towel. Then they blended it with eggs, condensed milk, and evaporated milk, before adding a light cinnamon dusting. I wasn’t feeling as guilty anymore about ditching the Coco Lopez.

The truth is, as with any recipe with specific cultural roots, there are many opinions about what makes a traditional coquito. While mine might not be rich enough for most Puerto Rican purists, I’m not shy with the rum, and I think my version still has the caloric content of a cheeseburger. Hopefully the coquito spirit is still alive and well.

(Check out Daisy’s chocolate coquito, Choquito, below.)


Makesabout 6 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 1 15 ounce

    can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 13.5 ounce

    can light coconut milk

  • 1 12 ounce

    can evaporated milk

  • 1 cup

    white rum

  • 4

    large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon

    pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    freshly ground nutmeg


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until frothy. Pour into a glass pitcher and refrigerate. Serve chilled with a pinch of cinnamon.

  2. (If raw eggs are a concern, use this alternate method: whisk the egg yolks and evaporated milk in a small metal bowl fitted over a small pot of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Stir the mixture until it thickens enough to coat the spoon and the temperature is 160°F. Pour the mixture into a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend until frothy. Pour into a glass pitcher and refrigerate until well-chilled. Serve with a pinch of cinnamon.)

Daisy Martinez's Choquito

Makesabout 8 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 2


  • 3

    egg yolks

  • 14 ounce

    can sweetened condensed milk

  • 15 ounce

    can cream of coconut (Coco López or other)

  • 12 ounce

    can evaporated milk

  • 1 1/2 cups

    heavy cream, divided

  • 3/4 to 1 cups

    light rum

  • 1 1/2 cups

    bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Ground cinnamon, for serving


Thank you, Daisy! Daisy Martinez will be judging El Museo del Barrios’ 9th Annual Coquito Tasting next Saturday, December 18th.

Check out her book: Daisy’s Holiday Cooking: Delicious Latin Recipes for Effortless Entertaining for more Latin holiday recipes.

(Coquito image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan; Daisy Martinez image: Frances Janisch)

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