Saturday, December 22, 2012

Coquito - Puerto Rican Eggnog


The first time I had coquito was a few years ago during a visit to Florida to spend the holidays with my parents.  It always feels so festive when I am there.  My mom and I cook up a storm and bake all sorts of goodies.  We never really know who's stopping by, but we always make sure there is enough treats for any amount of visitors.   Back in 2009, my mom's friend Zulieka, who is from Puerto Rico and also lives next door, came over and brought with her a bottle homemade egg nog to help us wash down all the goodies we baked.  I was intrigued; she had me at egg nog.  It was so delicious.  It had this wonderful creamy coconut taste with lots of cinnamon in the background.  My taste buds were delighted.  It was her mother's recipe and they make it during Christmas time every year.  I've also had coquito from my friend Jeff, who is from the Dominican Republic.  It tastes pretty much the same as Zulieka's.  The recipe seems to be standard, with very little variation. 

Coquito reminds me of other egg nog variations like Trinidad's ponche de creme which has more of a citrus profile.  My husband makes it every year as well and I indulge in it probably a little too much!  What I love about these egg nog drinks is that they are meant to be savored; letting the ice melt and stirring frequently makes it taste better.  It's even reminiscent of  Irish Bailey's, where you just sip and stir, stir and sip, but never gulp. 

Since my first coquito contact in 2009, I have made this a few times at home and it is a hit every time.  There are two methods of preparation; you can blend the ingredients with the raw eggs or temper the eggs and milk until thick, then blend with the rest of the ingredients.  I usually throw all the ingredients into a blender with the raw eggs and hit go.  I was never too concerned with salmonella from the raw eggs since this drink contains a lot of alcohol and most likely kills the bacteria in the eggs, if any.  Store-bought eggs go through a washing and sanitation process where most of the salmonella from the egg shells are removed, however since salmonella can also be found on the inside of the egg, there is no way to remove it without cracking the egg.  I have found in my research that 1 in every 10,000 eggs contain salmonella, according to the Center of Disease Control, so I guess we can say the odds are on our side.  If you still feel nervous about having raw eggs in your coquito, then you can cook the egg and milk mixture until it reaches a temperature ranging from 155-160 degrees if you care to use a thermometer.  This indicates the egg yolk has been cooked to a temperature where the bacteria has been killed.  Whether you choose to blend with the raw eggs or cooked, the result will still be a velvety, creamy, coconut-y drink that is sure to please any crowd.  

If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it and remember to add as much or as little of any ingredient you choose, especially the rum :).  If you are making this for a party, I suggest doubling or tripling the recipe since it only makes about 6 cups! I wish you all a very happy holiday season! 


These are the typical ingredients that go into coquito: Condensed milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, egg yolks, spices, vanilla, and of course- rum :).  The Bacardi 151 is pretty strong and I used it because that's what I had on hand.  If you are using another rum; white or dark, I recommend adding  3/4-1 cup.  Since the this Bacardi is so strong, I used only 1/2 cup. Also coquito is traditionally made with fresh coconut milk, but canned coconut milk is just as good and used in place these days.  I used the light version because I prefer my coquito with more of a delicate coconut taste.  You can either pour all these ingredients into a blender and blend till frothy, or you can continue from here and temper the eggs.

Bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a double boiler.  Place aluminum bowl over water, add egg yolks and evaporated milk only.  Continue to stir about 10 minutes until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon.  OR, if using a thermometer, this mixture should reach about 155-160 degrees.  At 155-160 degrees, the egg yolk has cooked enough to destroy any bacteria it might contain.  I didn't use a thermometer, so don't feel you can't make this beverage if you don't have one.


Pour egg/evaporated milk mixture into a blender add coconut milk, spices, vanilla, condensed milk, and rum.  Blend until frothy.

Frothy.

Pour into glass bottles.  Add the star anise to the finished mixture.  This is optional, but I think it gives a nice background flavor to the beverage.






Coquito
Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 13.5oz can regular or light coconut milk
  • 1 15oz can condensed milk
  • 3/4 - 1 cup white or dark rum (if using 151 proof, use 1/2 cup)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 
  • 1-2 star anise 
Directions:
  1. Bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a double boiler. Add evaporated milk and egg yolks. Stir until mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes on low heat).  Or, stir mixture until it reaches 155-160 degrees. 
  2. Pour milk/egg mixture into a blender, add rest of ingredients and blend until frothy. 
  3. Refrigerate until chilled then serve over ice. 

Alternate Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender with raw eggs and blend until frothy.  Refrigerate until well-chilled, serve over ice. 

Tips
  • To prevent mixture from flowing over, a blender that can hold more than 6 cups is preferred.   Mixture can also be whisked in a large bowl and then poured into a blender 3 cups at a time, if your blender does not hold more than 6 cups. 
  • If you do not prefer a strong coconut taste, light coconut milk can be used as well. 
  • Rum is the traditional alcohol used in this beverage.  Whether you choose white or dark rum is based on your preference.  Since 151 proof is a lot stronger, I recommend starting with 1/2 cup. 

2 comments:

  1. Hi Alicia! I just wanted to tell you that your recipes have helped me out A LOT. I am also Guyanese American from Queens and I also went to St. John's believe it or not. My mother never taught me how to make Guyanese food so I had to learn on my own. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes! They really have helped me get back in touch with the food I grew up with.

    -Amy

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    1. Hi Amy!

      What a coincidence! That's wonderful! I am glad you like the recipes and are getting back in touch with your fav traditional foods. If you ever have any recipe requests, feel free to email me :) thanks for your comment!

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