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Coquito is a thick and creamy rum and coconut drink. Sometimes referred to as Puerto Rican eggnog, this luscious drink is sure to make any holiday party extra festive!
Move over eggnog – creamy and thick Coquito is the new star of any holiday festivities!
What is Coquito?
It’s a traditional coconut-based Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico. Coquito means “little coconut” and both cream of coconut and coconut milk are among the main ingredients in this delicious drink.
It is similar in taste and texture to eggnog, but there are no eggs in this drink and the creaminess comes from the cream of coconut. This drink also includes rum – so another similarity to a spiked eggnog.
But Coquito is so much easier to make and, in our opinion, even more delicious!
Why You’ll Love Coquito
- It’s easy to make – just open a few canned and bottled ingredients and mix it up in a blender.
- It can be prepared well ahead of time. Then, keep it on hand in the refrigerator so it’s ready when guests stop by for the holidays!
- The creamy coconut and rum flavors are very delicious. (But it’s for grown-ups only!)
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Cream of Coconut – This is a very rich, super thick and creamy coconut cream that can be found in several different aisles in the supermarket. Coco Lopez brand is among the most popular choices for making Coquito, but your store might sell Real brand cream of coconut – both can be found in the isle that has liquor drink mixes. Goya brand is another option from the Mexican foods section, or Taste of Thai can be found in the Asian foods section.
- Coconut milk – Any brand of full-fat, canned coconut milk can be used for this recipe.
- Sweetened condensed milk – Any brand will work – including Eagle Brand, Carnation or Nestle La Lechera.
- Evaporated milk – Once again, any brand of evaporated milk can be used in this drink recipe.
- Rum – Although Puerto Rican white (clear) rum is traditional, a white rum from Cuba or Aruba can also be used. Stay away from dark or spiced rums as they would totally change the flavor profile.
- Cinnamon – If you can find Ceylon cinnamon sticks, that would be our number one choice here. If not, regular cinnamon sticks will do as a substitute. Both are from the bark of a Cinnamomum Verum evergreen tree but the Ceylon sold in markets and on line, are larger and have a more intense flavor.
- Vanilla – Both vanilla beans and vanilla extract are used in our recipe. You can use just the extract if you are not able to find vanilla beans. A small amount of vanilla bean paste could also be used.
- Nutmeg – Freshly ground nutmeg completes the overall flavor.
Special supplies needed
- Can opener
How do I make Coquito?
- Soak cinnamon sticks and split vanilla bean in rum for at least one hour, and as long as 24 hours.
- Strain the rum into the blender.
- Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pods and place those into the blender too.
- Add cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon into the blender, then mix well.
- Pour into glasses for serving.
- Garnish with a cinnamon sprinkled over the top of each glass and a cinnamon stick, if desired.
Chef’s Tip – Coquita can be made ahead of your party and stored in the blender refrigerated until ready to serve. Just give it a quick blend before serving to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make Coquito ahead of time? Yes. Make in blender and store refrigerated. Blend before serving.
How do I store leftovers? Refrigerated for up to a week.
Can I freeze Coquito? We actually tested this ourselves, and the alcohol in the rum will prevent the Coquito from fully hardening in the freezer. But it will freeze into a soft serve-like consistency – and it tastes pretty good frozen too!
What’s the difference between coquito and spiked eggnog? While they are both creamy rum-infused drinks, the primary difference is that coquito is made with coconut ingredients and gets its thick and creamy consistency from cream of coconut specifically. Egg nog is made with milk or cream and gets it creaminess from egg yolks. Note that some other recipes call for adding egg yolk to the coquito, but that isn’t traditional nor necessary.
Please drink responsibly.
You may enjoy these other holiday cocktails:
1 1/2 cups white rum (Puerto Rican rum if possible)
3 large cinnamon sticks, divided, Ceylon if possible. Plus, more for serving
1 vanilla bean, split
1 can cream of coconut (Coco Lopez for example typically 15-ounces)
1 can coconut milk (full fat) (14–16 ounce can typically)
1 can evaporated milk (14–16 ounce can typically)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14-ounce can)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Few grinds fresh nutmeg
At least one hour before serving, place rum, 2 cinnamon sticks and split vanilla bean in a zipper sandwich bag and let sit for at least an hour and as long as 24 hours at room temperature.
After the hour, strain the rum through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a blender. Discard the two cinnamon sticks then scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the blender and discard the vanilla pod.
Add the cream of coconut, coconut milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, pure vanilla extract and the freshly grated nutmeg.
Take a fresh cinnamon stick and grate a half teaspoon of cinnamon with a micro planer into the blender. Or add a half teaspoon of already ground cinnamon.
Blend for about a minute and serve in mugs with more cinnamon grated over each mug along with a cinnamon stick stirrer to each guest.
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We tested Puerto Rican, Cuban and Aruban rum and really had a hard time telling the difference. As long as you chose a high-quality clear rum (such as Bacardi), you will make a great drink. We do not suggest using no-name brands.