Coquito

Puerto Rican Coquito

Coquito is coconut sweetened and cinnamon rich Puerto Rican eggnog. One drinks coquito in small little glasses, a teeny tiny bit at a time- as to not overwhelm the palate. The rich coconut milk, sweet rum, and warm aromatic cinnamon become familiar holiday traditions. And when rum and coconut are involved-  we always honor tradition.

Puerto Rican Coquito

Once there is a Puerto Rican in the family, coquito is bound to be present at every Noche Buena, and it becomes something everyone looks forward to each year. My tio Raul always makes the BEST classic Puerto Rican coquito for noche buena. This coquito would make my abuela giggle and my tias tipsy. Everyone always wants seconds, and the coquito is bound to quickly run out. This year I can’t go home for Christmas, so I called up my uncle to get his famous recipe. Noche Buena wouldn’t be the same without a few sips of the sweet coconut elixir. My uncle’s Puerto Rican coquito recipe is the very best and oh-so simple. It is perfect for Christmas celebrations- and will instantly become a family tradition.

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Puerto Rican Coquito

  • 1 bottle white rum (or more to taste, Tio Raul says Don Q White is preferred)
  • 2 cans of Goya Leche de Coco (or more to your taste)
  • 1 can of Dulce de Coco (or more to your taste)
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 egg yolk (theoretically optional)
  • Cinnamon (to your taste)
  • Pinch salt

Whisk the coquito ingredients together to taste. Get the small dulce de coco cans and add one at a time while tasting. Rum has a lot of natural sugars and can get sweet quickly so err on the side of caution. Don Q silver rum is preferred for coquito, but if you must Bacardi will do. I couldn’t find Don Q here in my neighborhood so I used Bacardi white rum. The rum was quite strong so I used only 3/4 bottle for the recipe. I prefer to add an egg yolk because I think it adds richness to flavor and balances the sweet coconut in the coquito.

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Coquito is perfect for holiday parties because it is best when made in advance. Allow the coquito to sit overnight in the fridge to really blend well together. I swear sitting overnight makes all the difference! Stir or shake the coquito before serving. Remember you can always add a little more of this and that to get your coquito just right for you. Coquito is best served in tiny little shot glasses on noche buena, when surrounded by family around the Christmas tree.

Puerto Rican Coquito

Pumpkin Old Fashioned

 Instagram photo Pumpkin Old Fashioned

Bourbon and spice and everything nice, that’s what pumpkin old fashioneds are made of. I want to buy pumpkins, wreaths, and those cinnamon stick broom things that remind me of my elementary school librarian. Despite the warmer weather I am fiending for fall. Even today I was lingering in the holiday decoration section of TJ Maxx wondering longingly if I would have use for that little scarecrow wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. I was then suddenly reminded of the pumpkin spice syrup I made last year for slushies, drinks, and coffee. The realization then dawned on me- pumpkin spice syrup was made for one thing and one thing alone- a pumpkin old fashioned cocktail!!!

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Pumpkin old fashioned cocktail is packed with fall flavors and will give you all those giddy feelings in anticipation of the holiday season. Before the weather becomes too cold for my thin tropical blood I want to sit in my backyard (which I wish looked like this) sipping on a pumpkin old fashioned while watching the leaves twirl down to tiny piles on the ground. Even though I’m gushing over gourds and swooning for squash, I’ll enjoy the warmer weather this week and brace myself for a Manhattan winter.

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Pumpkin Old Fashioned

  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • 2 oz Bourbon (I used Bulleit Rye)
  • Orange twist or cinnamon stick for garnish or star anise
  • 1 ice cube

Shake the bourbon and pumpkin spice syrup with ice until chilled. If you prefer to stir your cocktails, by all means, knock yourself out! Pour over a fresh ice cube. Garnish the bourbon pumpkin old fashioned with an orange twist or cinnamon stick. If you have cloves I like to stick them into the orange rind for extra aromatics sometimes. This drink is smooth and spiced and everything nice.

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Guava Old Fashioned

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Guava old fashioned is one of the best cocktails I have come up with, if not THE best. As you might have caught on by now I have a love affair with guava and it is no secret. The muddled guava shells wonderfully complement bourbon and are further enhanced by the addition of angostura bitters and an aromatic orange twist.

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I prefer slightly sweeter bourbon like Bulleit or Blantons for the guava old fashioned, but nothing quite as sweet as Jack Daniels, though I am sure that would work just fine. Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, or Buffalo Trace would be good substitutions too, but Bulleit Bourbon with its maple flavor and nutmeg spice is my personal favorite.

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Muddled guava shells are great to use because they already come in heavy syrup which can be used to further sweeten the cocktail. I experimented making the guava old fashioned with guava marmalade in place of the shells, and this tasted equally delicious. Although the guava is strained out the grainy fruit pulp can settle to the bottom of the glass so I recommend serving with a cocktail straw to continually stir up the guava goodness. Old fashioned cocktails are my go-to drink nowadays, and the guava old fashioned is a new Cuban twist on an old classic.

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Guava Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 guava shell in heavy syrup
1 tablespoon heavy syrup from the can
2 ounces Bulleit Bourbon (or your favorite)
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Splash club soda
Orange twist for garnish
Sugared guava cube for garnish

Muddle one guava shell with a tablespoon of the heavy syrup. Add four dashes of Angostura bitters, pour in 2 ounces of Bulleit or your favorite bourbon, top with ice and shake well. The guava old fashioned can also be stirred with a bar spoon but vigorously shaking the cocktail breaks up the muddled guava further.

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Strain the guava old fashioned over fresh ice. I like to use the giant ice cubes or ice sphere, they look elegant and take longer to melt. Add a splash of club soda, garnish with an orange twist and a sugared guava cube (you can buy sugared guava cubes or roll a cube of guava paste in fine granulated sugar). Cheers and enjoy!

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Note: Conchita brand of both the guava shells and guava marmalade are my favorite. Luckily in Miami guava everything is readily available, but you can order the guava shells or guava marmalade online or likely find these products in local Hispanic markets.