Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Rum Punch)

updated Dec 5, 2023
christmas
Coquito Recipe (Puerto Rican Coconut Rum Punch)

This Puerto Rican eggnog is made with coconut milk, cinnamon, and white rum for a rich, delicious holiday treat.

Serves8

Makesabout 7 1/2 cups

Prep3 minutes

Cook5 minutes

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Two glasses of coquito topped with lime zest and cinnamon sticks on a marble surface next to a carafe of coquito.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Coquito was certainly essential in my home. Mami isn’t much of a drinker, but she loves coquito. When they were still married, my dad was the coquito master. But after he and my mom split, I got his recipe. I have my adjustments (I use more coconut milk than dairy), but I otherwise stick to his recipe. Egg yolks, coconut cream, coconut milk, and lime zest. And I always serve it on the rocks in a small glass with a dash of ground cinnamon.

Like so many other holiday traditions, coquito is a beverage that is the centerpiece of parties and meals, a flavor that marks the beginning of an extended period of family and friend gatherings, of sharing time together, and of celebrating whatever is meaningful to you about the holidays. For many Puerto Ricans, when coquito appears, the holidays begin.

What Is Coquito?

Coquito is Puerto Rican coconut-y eggnog. We claim it as our own, but it’s beloved by Dominicans and Cubans alike. It’s frothy and rich like a traditional eggnog, but it’s lighter with coconut cream and vanilla, cinnamon instead of nutmeg, and rum instead of bourbon or brandy.

This cocktail is as varied as there are days in the year. So varied that, in New York City, there’s a competition to find the ultimate Coquito Master. Across New York’s five boroughs, dozens of competitors ranging in age from young bucks to viejitos (wise elders) compete for the title, turning this traditional cocktail on its head by adding things like chocolate, strawberries, and pistachio.

Ingredients in Coquito

  • Cinnamon sticks: Cinnamon is the main spice here, and it’s simmered in water to bring out the flavor. This cinnamon water is used to thin out the punch.
  • Egg yolks: Just like a good eggnog, egg yolks help to create a thicker texture and add a rich flavor.
  • Coconut milk: Use unsweetened coconut milk from a can, not coconut milk beverages from a carton which might not have the same thickness and flavor.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: One can of sweetened condensed milk provides sweetness, creaminess, and richness.
  • Cream of coconut: This is coconut milk mixed with sugar, most commonly used in cocktails. It’s not coconut cream, which is thicker than coconut milk and contains more fat.
  • Lime zest: Adds a little brightness and freshness to the coquito.
  • Vanilla extract: Just a little bit adds a bit of fragrance and flavor.
  • White rum: The traditional spirit in coquito.

How to Drink Coquito

Coquito is served already mixed with the rum and chilled. No ice is needed – just pour into small glasses (remember, it’s rich!). You can dust the top of each serving with some ground cinnamon for a bit of extra spice or for a nice visual effect, but it’s not necessary in this version since there’s a good deal of cinnamon flavor infused into this tropical treat already.

Coquito Recipe (Puerto Rican Coconut Rum Punch)

This Puerto Rican eggnog is made with coconut milk, cinnamon, and white rum for a rich, delicious holiday treat.

Prep time 3 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Makes about 7 1/2 cups

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups

    water

  • 3

    (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

  • 8

    large egg yolks

  • 1 (about 13.5-ounce) can

    coconut milk

  • 1 (14-ounce) can

    sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez

  • 1/2

    medium lime

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch

    salt

  • 1 1/2 cups

    white rum, plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. Place 1 1/2 cups water and 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat as needed and simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

  2. Place 8 large egg yolks in a blender and blend on high until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add 1 (about 13.5-ounce) can coconut milk and blend for 1 minute. Add 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk and 1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut. Blend until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes.

  3. Remove the cinnamon sticks from the water and set aside. Pour the cinnamon water into the blender. Finely grate the zest of 1/2 medium lime into the blender. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, and pulse once to incorporate.

  4. Transfer to a pitcher or other airtight container. Add 1 1/2 cups white rum and the reserved cinnamon sticks, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Stir well before serving, and serve with more white rum as desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The coquito can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Editor’s Note: This recipe has been retested and updated since its original publication.