It is coquito time yet? Every end of year, the whole island of Puerto Rico goes crazy for coquito, often compared to eggnogg (even though it has no eggs). ”We start pulling out cans of coconut creams and milks from the back of our pantries,” says Michelle Ezratty Murphy, one of our favorite Puerto Rican-food homecooks. “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, Michelle’s 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,” says Michelle.
The game-changing difference in this amazing coquito (which Pat and Michelle swear is the key to why theirs is the best they have ever tasted, and we have to agree) is the extra infusion of flavor they add by making coquito “tea.” You may be tempted, but don’t skip this step. It calls for simmering water, ginger, anise, cloves, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, apple pie spice, cinnamon sticks and salt in a saucepan on the stove for 1 hour. Add it to the blended, frozen coquito mixture and watch everyone’s face light up when they sip it, the couple reports.
These days, Michelle and Pat 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. For more Puerto Rican recipes by Michelle and Pat, check out these delicious dishes, many of them Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest winners. 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 this Amazing Puerto Rican Coquito?