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Old-School Coquito—With Fresh Coco or (Just as Good!) from a Can

coquito Puerto Rico

Every final del año, the whole island of Puerto Rico goes crazy for coquito, our Puerto Rican eggnogg. We start pulling out cans of coconut creams and milks from the back of our pantries. But in the beginning, way back in el año de las guácaras, our Boricua ancestors kicked off a coquito celebration by knocking down fresh cocos from el palo and scraping out the rich coco meat.

That’s still how Pat Murphy, my Boricua-born husband, makes his coquito every Christmas. People might think the real coconut part is what makes it difficult, but he feels it’s authentic and worth the effort. He also makes it without the real coconuts sometimes, and to be honest with you, I like it better that way…. LOL! (but don’t tell him that). Here’s his old-school recipe.

For more Puerto Rican recipes by Michelle and Pat, check out these delicious dishes, many of them Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest winners. They now live far away from the Caribbean in landlocked Arizona, but they crave Cuban and Puerto Rican food—often—and are willing to put in the time and effort to achieve the mouth-watering depth of flavor at home. You’ll often find them cooking criollo dishes like Pat’s Titi Rosa’s arroz con pollo, culling through 30 recipes to make the ultimate Cuban ropa vieja, baking empanadas de picadillo, and most sumptuous and time consuming of all: making from-scratch holiday pasteles made with yautía, green bananas and pork for the holidays.

Seriously: try them all. Beginning with Pat’s coquito!

Ready to Make the Best Puerto Rican Coquito?

Old-School Coquito—with Fresh Coco or (Just as Good!) from a Can

4 from 12 votes
Recipe by Pat Murphy Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

10

minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 fresh 3 coconuts

  • 13.5 oz 13.5 coconut milk or leche de coco can—IF NOT USING REAL COCONUTS

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 white rum

  • 14 oz 14 sweetened condensed milk can

  • 1 oz 1 coconut cream can

  • 12 oz 12 evaporated milk can

  • 1 1 cheese cloth, large

  • Ingredients for Coquito “Tea”
  • 1 large thumb 1 ginger, thinly sliced

  • 4 4 anise stars

  • 1 Tbsp 1 cloves, whole

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 nutmeg, ground

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 apple pie spice, ground

  • 1 tsp 1 cinnamon, ground

  • 4 sticks 4 cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 kosher salt

  • 2 cups 2 water

Directions

  • Start by Making Coquito “Tea”
  • In a medium size pot, add the water, ginger, anise, cloves, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, apple pie spice, cinnamon sticks and salt. On low heat, gently simmer the tea for up to 1 hour. Stir often.
  • The longer it simmers, the more flavorful the tea will be. After an hour, strain the tea, leaving only the liquid, and allow to cool completely. Set 1/4 cup aside.
  • If Using Fresh Coconuts
  • Puncture one or two holes at the end of each coco and let the coconut water drip into a medium-size bowl. Set aside.
  • Carefully cut each coconut in half, exposing its white coconut meat. Chisel out the meat of all three and put into a blender.
  • Blend the coco meat on high speed until well shredded. Transfer the shredded coconut meat into a large bowl lined with a cheese cloth. Gather the cloth around the coconut meat and squeeze until all the milk is all out.
  • Pour all the coconut milk into the reserved coconut water—and now you have coco de leche.
  • If Not Using Fresh Coconuts
  • If you want to skip dealing with fresh coconuts altogether, just use a 13.5 oz can of coconut milk—and skip the previous 4 steps.
  • Putting It All Together: Coquito Time!
  • In a blender, add the coconut milk, coconut cream and evaporated milk. Blend for about 10 seconds.
  • Add the completely cooled 1/4 cup of coquito tea to the blender and mix for another 10 seconds.
  • Last, add the rum and blend once again for another 10 seconds.
  • Taste for flavor. You can add more cinnamon or rum if you would like at this point—up to you!
  • Pour the coquito into clear, tall jars (clear because everyone likes to see the creamy-white, frothy coquito within) and refrigerate immediately. Serve chilled. Can be stored for up to 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator. Happy holidays!

Notes

  • Here’s an idea for how to use your shredded coconut leftovers: Preheat oven to 300° and spread the shredded coconut evenly onto a baking sheet. Bake until the coconut is dry and slightly toasted. This can take up to 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how wet your coconut shreds are. Keep an eye on the coconut and toss a few times to make sure that it is evenly toasted. Store in a bag in the freezer for up to 6 months, or a jar in the pantry for about 30 days. 

    Fresh coconut is great for making parfaits, coconut shrimp, or this Sweet Mofongo With Rum Caramel dessert.
How to make coquito from scratch—with real coconut.
Fresh coconut milk
Puncture the end of each coconut and collect the coco water. Mix with the liquid from strained, shredded coconut meat—and you have fresh leche de coco!
Coquito!
Listo! Serve chilled. Can be stored for up to 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator.

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