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Monday, December 7, 2015

Coquito - Spiced Coconut Rum Punch

No offense to the eggnog lovers out there, but I'm done with the stuff. Coquito, a Puerto Rican eggnog of sorts, is infinitely better. Let me number the ways:

  1. There are no eggs, so it's not as heavy.
  2. It has cream of coconut and coconut milk, so it actually tastes good and not just like, well, sweetened milk.
  3. It has a healthy punch of cinnamon and vanilla, and who doesn't like cinnamon and vanilla? 
  4. It has RUM! 
  5. Most importantly, it has an uncanny ability to make you feel as if you're floating away to a Caribbean island (the rum may have something to do with this.)
After two years of coquito-making, I've finally found my ideal recipe. It's tweaked from one on Always Order Dessert, a blog written by Alejandra Ramos -- check it out, but first, make a big pitcher of coquito.

This drink is quite sweet and rich, so I prefer a small glass of it served over ice after dinner.

Coquito - Spiced Coconut Rum Punch
Adapted from a recipe on Always Order Dessert, by Alejandra Ramos

One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
One 15-ounce can sweetened cream of coconut (preferably Coco Lopez, but Goya works too)
One 14-ounce can coconut milk (light or low-fat is ok, though not preferred)
1 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons ground Ceylon cinnamon
1 cup white rum (preferably Don Q or Mount Gay)
1 cup golden rum (preferably Don Q or Mount Gay)
1/2 cup coconut rum (preferably Cruzan)
Indonesian cinnamon sticks, for serving
Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving

Pour the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream of coconut, and coconut milk into a blender (do this in batches if it won't all fit!). Slice the vanilla bean in half, then scrape the seeds into the liquid and add the ground cinnamon and rums. Blend until smooth, then pour into a large pitcher. Add the seeded vanilla bean to the pitcher (it'll keep infusing flavor into the liquid).

Serve over ice in small glasses, garnished with a cinnamon stick and freshly grated nutmeg.

Yield: About 9 1/3 cups coquito, or enough for about 18 half-cup servings

P.S. Leftovers keep for about a week in the refrigerator. If for some reason you can't finish your coquito, know that it makes EXCELLENT French toast.

Baked challah French toast? Don't mind if I do.
And since you're already gilding the lily, use challah or brioche for the bread. In fact, why not just make this recipe while you're at it? You're welcome.

Just watch out when drinking the coquito...

...or this could happen to you.

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