My first Christmas experience of Puerto Rican traditions was in 1963
when I was sent to a private Benedictine Monastery school called Colegio de Nuestra Señora de la Valvanera.
I was a high school senior. I lived with my maternal grandmother’s sister who had 5 children.
My great grandmother, who was a Taino indian, completed the family.
The family was well-known and taken care of very nicely since my great aunt was the mayors mistress.
It was an accepted arrangement in this town. I’ll be going into more details about this in my memoir I’m writing.
Anyway, you can’t imagine the culture shock I had.
I’d been raised in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York up until that point.
I was very unhappy for the first month. 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.
Below is one of the traditions I experienced during my first holidays on this personal cultural journey .
I hope you will try this very easy to make beverage and, perhaps,
incorporate something that sounds like a positive tradition in this story.
***** Yes, I have posted this one before.
I added a little inside information from my memoir to make it fresh for those who’ve seen this recipe before.
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
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.