This Coquito recipe is creamy and coconut-y, warmed by cinnamon and nutmeg, and spiked with rum. It’s a classic Puerto Rican Christmas drink that’s perfect for all your holiday festivities!
The Best Coquito Recipe
Looking for a drink to wow your guests this holiday season? Mix up this Puerto Rican Coquito recipe, and give everyone something to talk about! This creamy, refreshing, rum-spiked cocktail is full of coconut flavor and warmed with cinnamon and nutmeg. If you enjoy creamy wintry cocktails, such as a Brandy Alexander, an Espresso Martini, or a festive Eggnog Cocktail, then you definitely need to add this coquito to your holiday drinks roster. It’s delicious served super cold – and I highly recommend enjoying it in front of a roaring fire!
Why You’ll Love This Puerto Rican Coquito
Our family visited Puerto Rico for the first time earlier this year, and we absolutely loved it. Puerto Rico is home to many rum distilleries (including Bacardi) and the birthplace of the pina colada, so this coquito with rum feels perfect right now. Here’s why I think you’ll also like this coquito recipe:
- Festive. In Puerto Rico, the coquito is a traditional Christmas drink that’s enjoyed all throughout the holiday season. It’s rich and creamy and festive with warm spices and rum!
- Easy. To make this Puerto Rican coquito pitcher drink, just add the ingredients to a blender, give it a whirl, and then stir in some rum. Ten minutes, tops!
- Make ahead. You’ll want to chill the coquito thoroughly before you serve it, so this makes it a great drink to mix up ahead of time.
What is Coquito?
Coquito, which means “little coconut” in Spanish, is a classic Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico. The cocktail is creamy, coconut-y, and warmly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s served very cold and you’ll most often find it spiked with light rum, although a dark aged rum is definitely acceptable. Or you can leave out the rum entirely for everyone to enjoy!
Eggnog vs. Coquito
Coquito is often called “Puerto Rican eggnog” because it’s creamy and has flavors similar to American eggnog, plus there are variations that actually include eggs. But coquito and eggnog are not the same! Here are the key differences, how coquito is different from eggnog:
- Coconut-y. Coquito is big on coconut flavor. Eggnog is vanilla-based.
- No eggs. Traditionally, coquito does not include eggs – although variations have developed over the years that call for egg yolks. Eggnog always includes eggs.
- Rum. I like to think that this drink helps keep those Puerto Rican rum distilleries alive – with help from the pina colada, of course! Eggnog tends to be a little looser with the choice of liquor, with rum, brandy, whiskey, and bourbon all being popular choices.
Here’s a simple list of what you’ll need for this coquito recipe. For the exact ingredient amounts, scroll down to the end of this post for the printable recipe card.
- Sweetened condensed coconut milk – This adds coconut-flavored sweetness and helps thicken the coquito. You could substitute this for the same quantity of sweetened condensed milk.
- Unsweetened coconut milk – Adds more creamy, coconut flavor. Use full-fat coconut milk for richest flavor and creaminess.
- Cream of coconut – This adds even more sweet coconut flavor. I highly recommend Coco Lopez brand. It’s available with the drink mixers in most grocery stores.
- Evaporated milk – This ingredient adds richness and creaminess to the coquito.
- Vanilla extract – A little bit of vanilla plays so nicely with coconut. Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Coconut extract – For an extra bump of tropical coconut flavor.
- Ground spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves add traditional warmth and spice.
- Rum – A light Puerto Rican rum is the traditional alcohol used in a coquito – think Bacardi Superior or Don Q Cristal. But you could swap it out for dark rum, or even coconut rum.
How to Make Coquito
This coquito recipe comes together quickly and easily. Grab a can opener and a blender – here’s how to do it! Find the detailed instructions in the recipe card lower down in this post.
- Blend. Blend all of the ingredients except the rum in a high-speed blender.
- Finish. Add the rum and stir to combine.
- Chill. Transfer the coquito to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Serve. Stir, pour into glasses, and serve with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. And star anise, if you’re feeling extra!
Tips & Variations
Below you’ll find some tips for making a batch of coquito, plus some variation suggestions:
- Thoroughly chill. I recommend letting the finished pitcher of coquito chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving – 4 or more is even better. This lets the drink get super chilled and helps the flavors meld.
- Save the foam. This recipe will develop a soft foam on top while it chills in the fridge. You can scoop it off and discard it, scoop it off and use it as a whipped cream substitute on the drinks, or stir it back into the drink.
- Go non-alcoholic. If you want to serve an alcohol-free version, just skip the rum. This drink will still taste amazing.
- Try different alcohol. A coquito is traditionally made with white/light rum, but you don’t have to stick to this. Dark rum is also wonderful and coconut rum adds even more coconut flavor. If you like bourbon, definitely give that a try as well.
- Add a topping. If you want to make a super decadent dessert cocktail, top each glass of coquito with a dollop of whipped cream or whipped coconut cream. Then sprinkle with some ground cinnamon!
- Substitute for the condensed coconut milk: If you can’t find sweetened condensed coconut milk, you can substitute with the same amount of regular sweetened condensed milk. I think you’ll still have a good amount of coconut flavor in the drink, but if you need a bit more with this substitution you can add more coconut extract.
A Puerto Rican coquito is the perfect sip at a holiday party. You can serve it with sweet or savory snacks. Here are a few of my favorite things to serve with this coquito recipe:
- Appetizers. An appetizer spread is perfect for cocktail hour. How about grilled margarita shrimp, bacon wrapped smokies, or everything bagel pigs in a blanket? Or choose from many more appetizer recipes.
- Cookies. Coquito and holiday cookies? Sounds great to me! Some of my favorites include cream wafer cookies, chewy ginger molasses cookies, chocolate peanut butter Ritz cookies, and red velvet cookies.
- Other sweet bites. Like chocolate chip cookie bars, gingerbread brownies, buckeye fudge, or pecan pralines. Take a look at all my dessert recipes, for more cookies, cakes, truffles, etc!
- Crunchy, salty snacks. Set out bowls of roasted nuts, pretzels, chips, or popcorn to offset the creamy sweetness of a coquito. Or make a batch of my favorite rosemary thyme spiced nuts!
How to Store Coquito
Store any leftover coquito in an airtight container – I like a glass pitcher or jar with a tight-fitting lid – in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
More Holiday Drinks to Try
- Christmas Sangria
- Hot Toddy
- Cranberry Margarita
- Cranberry Gin & Tonic
- Eggnog White Russian
- Pomegranate Gin & Tonic
- 2 cans 7.4 ounces each sweetened condensed coconut milk
- 1 can 13.6 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 can 15 ounces cream of coconut
- 1 can 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ cups white rum or to taste – such as Bacardi Superior or Don Q Cristal
- Add all of the ingredients except the rum (sweetened condensed coconut milk, coconut milk, cream of coconut, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, coconut extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) to a high speed blender and blend until smooth and combined, about 15 seconds.
- Add the rum and stir to combine. If you want the option for non-alcoholic coquito, skip adding the rum now and serve it on the side later for people to add if desired.
- Transfer the coquito to an airtight pitcher or container and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Shake or stir well before serving. Garnish individual glasses with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.