The Island of Puerto Rico is still in the recovery stages since Hurricane Maria devastated it in September, 2017.
Many are still without electricity, clean water, everyday needs such as food, clothing, simple essentials and telephones.
During this time of giving – perhaps, you can donate to this cause:
Somos una voz – We are one voice: donate here
One day, the island will return to the beauty it once was as shown in this video – Sung by native Puerto Rican Marc Anthony
I’ve posted this before, but this year, it has so much more meaning for those of us who helplessly wait for news
from family members living on the island in the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
My first Christmas experience of Puerto Rican traditions was in 1963
when I was sent to a private Benedictine Monastery high school called Colegio de Nuestra Señora de la Valvanera.
I was a senior. I lived with my maternal grandmother’s sister, her 5 children,
my maternal great grandmother, who was a Taino Indian, and completed the family.
I had been raised in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York,
while attending Transfiguration Catholic school, up until that point.
When I first arrived in Puerto Rico, I was very unhappy after the first month. I had summered there but only for a month at a time.
I missed my former life.
Then, as I began to experience this very new culture, I started to feel an emotional connection I’d never felt before.
My great grandmother, Pagua, knew I wasn’t feeling like I belonged. She began to tell me stories of her ancestors and their traditions.
Below is one of the traditions I experienced during my first holidays on this personal cultural journey .
I hope you’ll try this very easy to make beverage and, perhaps, incorporate something
that sounds like a positive tradition in this story to your holiday festivities.
Coquito is a traditional drink served during Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Fiesta de los Tres Reyes celebrations. The drink is similar to eggnog except with rum. In many households, it’s prepared days ahead in order to allow the flavors to blend well. This particular recipe does not call for raw eggs. Nor does it call for you to crack open a fresh coconut. It’s a very simple mixed drink. There’s another recipe below that is made with eggs. It depends on your family tradition as to which way you make it. No matter which way you decide to make it, remember that it is a lot more powerful than you think.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes – tastes best if left in the fridge overnight
2 15-ounce cans cream of coconut
2 14-ounce cans condensed milk
1 can coconut milk
6 ounces Puerto Rica Bacardi white rum (use less or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh grated coconut (coco rallado) for garnish
and/or cinnamon sprinkled on top
Preparation: 1. Mix all ingredients in a blender.
Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.
Coquito must be kept refrigerated until served.
Serve as a cocktail in a shot glass.
Enjoy … !!!
Serves: This recipe makes about 36 ounces.
This is a traditional song sung by the carolers.
Another recipe for this traditional drink:
Coquito is gluten-free. To make it dairy-free substitute the milks (except coconut) with rice, soy, hemp, , or almond milk and double the sugar. If you want to lower the sugar content; substitute all of the sugar for agave nectar or brown rice syrup.
1 can coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cans condensed milk
fresh grated coconut (coco rallado)
1 liter white Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
In a bowl add egg yolks, sugar, milk, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and mix well. Add evaporated and condensed milks, rum, and coconut cream and coconut milk. Add grated coconut and mix well. You can mix all of the ingredients in a blender. Pour coquito into bottles with sealable tops and add the cinnamon sticks to each bottle. Refrigerate and serve cold.