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.
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.
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.