Coquito is a creamy Puerto Rican holiday cocktail made with coconut, rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, and more. This easy family recipe has been passed down through the generations. It’s so good you won’t want to share!
What Is Coquito?
Coquito means “little coconut” in Spanish. It’s a Puerto Rican cocktail that is made of coconut milk and rum, plus a few warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It is thick and creamy with tons of coconut flavor. A Coquito is served chilled and is popular during the holidays. People start making it for Thanksgiving, then serve it throughout the holiday season until Three Kings Day in January.
Watch How To Make It
Want to see how to make a coquito from start to finish? Here’s a step-by-step video:
Eggnog vs. Coquito
While often compared to American Eggnog, there are quite a few differences:
- Flavor. The biggest difference is that a coquito is coconut flavored. Coquito is made with a combination of rum, creamy coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and warm spices.
- Usually, no eggs. Occasionally coquito is made with eggs, but most recipes – like this one – are made without eggs. Eggnog, as its name implies, is made using eggs along with milk or heavy cream.
- Kind of liquor. A Coquito can use rum, but more often is made with brandy, bourbon, or whiskey. Eggnog is traditionally made with rum or bourbon. So in this sense, a Coquito is more flexible in terms of what kind of alcohol you can use.
A Puerto Rican Family Recipe
Growing up in Puerto Rico, it never felt like the holidays until a batch of Coquito was in the fridge! This recipe is from our friend Christina’s dad in Puerto Rico. You can see some of his original recipe cards above. The recipe has evolved over time, which makes sense because everyone makes coquito differently. We have tried coquito made with spiced tea bags, with eggs, and without eggs. My cousin even makes his with melted ice cream! There is no right or wrong way, just follow your tastebuds. To us, this version really is the BEST.
Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make this coquito recipe. For the full ingredient amounts, scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Rum: A light rum, like Bacardi Superior or Don Q Cristal is the traditional choice. However, if you like a dark aged rum, it is also delicious and will boost the flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can even use coconut rum if you prefer.
- Cinnamon: You’ll need both cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Cream of Coconut: Cream of coconut is sold under a few different names. Goya makes one, but we prefer Coco Lopez.
- Coconut Milk: Get canned coconut milk with a thick layer of cream on top. I prefer the Badia brand of coconut milk as it almost always has a thick layer.
- Evaporated Milk: You can also use extra coconut milk instead, but we like the final flavor we get when we use evaporated milk.
- Ground Nutmeg: Freshly grated nutmeg will add the most flavor. I use a microplane grater to grate whole nutmeg.
- Vanilla Extract
- Shredded Coconut: While not traditional, a little shredded coconut adds more coconut flavor. You can use sweetened or unsweetened coconut.
Add Some Rum Soaked Raisins
These are optional but they are so delicious. When we first heard about soaking the raisins in rum to add to Coquito, we weren’t sure how we felt about it. But after our first glass, we realized how much we love finding those little rum-soaked raisins at the bottom. They are like an after-cocktail snack!
Can I Make a Non-Alcoholic Coquito?
Absolutely! You can completely skip the rum and it will still be delicious. We do this every year so our kiddos can also enjoy some with us!
How To Make Coquito
Are you ready to see how to make Coquito? Let’s get started:
- Flavor your rum with cinnamon (do this in advance). To start, we like to soak our rum with cinnamon sticks and raisins (if you are using them) for 24 hours (or up to a week). This is optional but really helps to give your coquito a great depth of flavor.
- Blend everything together. Then we gather all the rest of our ingredients and puree them all together in a blender. So you’ll add the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream of coconut, vanilla extract, shredded coconut (optional), ground cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Add the rum. Once everything is pureed, pour the coconut milk mixture into the bottle with the rum (and optional rum raisins) and shake well to combine.
- Chill. Chill the coquito for at least 4 hours before serving. This will help to thicken the coquito, but will also help the flavors meld together.
- Serve! Pour your chilled coquito into cocktail glasses. You can add a coconut rim before pouring your coquito if you like. Sprinkle some extra ground cinnamon or nutmeg on top, then start sipping.
Tips for Success
- Want to make your coquito thinner? In the blending step, skip the optional shredded coconut and add a little extra evaporated milk. You can also add less of the thick coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk, or leave it out altogether.
- Want to make it thicker? As your coquito chills in the fridge, it will thicken. If you have already let it chill in the fridge and it is still too thin that usually means the coconut milk you used was one without the thick coconut cream on top. The best way to fix this is to buy a can of coconut cream (not coconut milk) and only add the thick cream from the top (not the water below) to a blender with the coquito. Puree and then return to the fridge to chill again.
- Garnish. Want a festive shredded coconut rim like in the photos? Coat the rim of the glass in honey and them press it into shredded coconut! You can also sprinkle a little cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg on top!
If you have visited Puerto Rico in the last decade, you will have noticed a renaissance of Coquito. There are so many flavors! Here’s how to make three of my favorites:
- Pumpkin. If you want to try an Autumn-y twist, I have a great recipe for Pumpkin Coquito.
- Nutella. If you want to add Nutella flavor, start with 1 cup of Nutella and add it to the blender. Give it a taste, and add more if desired.
- Pistachio. Puree 2 cups of pistachios in a food processor until they form a fine paste. Add the pistachio paste to the blender with the rest of the ingredients.
Everything goes with a glass of this coco-nutty goodness! For the holidays, I highly recommend Pernil and a big batch of Arroz con Gandules. Maduros, Tostones, and Ensalada de Coditos make great holiday sides. Some desserts, like this easy Tres Leches Cake or a festive Roscón de Reyes, are also great ideas.
Can I Make This Ahead?
Absolutely! Coquito is best when you give it time to rest and allow the flavors to blend in the fridge, which is why we recommend letting it chill for at least 4 hours before you are going to serve it. You can certainly make it a few days or even a few weeks in advance though. (More on how long it will last below.)
How Long Does Coquito Last?
It depends! If made without eggs, Coquito can last up to 6 weeks in the fridge. Since this recipe is made without eggs and with canned milk, it can safely be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Just give it a good shake each time before serving.
Can I Freeze Coquito?
I don’t recommend it. The rum will prevent it from freezing solid and when it thaws the texture and flavor will be different.
- 1 ½ cups rum
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 oz raisins, optional
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (15 oz) can cream of coconut, Coco Lopez or Goya brand
- 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
- 4 oz evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons shredded coconut, optional
- OPTIONAL: In a large pitcher with a lid (or two large jars with lids – this will make about 56 oz of liquid total) add rum, cinnamon sticks, and optional raisins (if using). Let sit for at least 1 hour, or up to a week. (This will add an extra depth of flavor to your coquito.)
- In a blender, puree all the other ingredients. Pour into the bottle and shake well to combine with rum/raisins mixture.
- Chill for at least 4 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld and coquito to thicken. (The coconut cream will thicken as it chills.)
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up 6 weeks. Shake vigorously each time before serving!
More Festive Holiday Drinks
- Peppermint White Hot Chocolate
- Apple Cider Cocktail
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Apple Cider
- Red Velvet Hot Chocolate
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.