I had not heard about Coquito until recently. When I came across it online and saw 'Puerto Rican Coconut Egg Nog' I knew what shape the weekend holiday beverage routine would take. The rich, creamy goodness that defines egg nog is present but instead of heavy cream, whole milk and eggs (yolks and whites) the body here consists of coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and egg yolks. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves contribute their festive holiday flavors but so does ginger, adding a welcome spicy bite that peeks through all of that rich sweetness.
I did very limited research on this one. In part because I'm still in lazy holiday mode but also because the recipe I found turned out to be pretty solid. I did enough to gather that Coquito is Puerto Rican (it was in the title of the recipe after all) in origin. Eventually I went back and checked out a few other recipes. The core is consistent among the half dozen or so that I looked through - egg yolks, evaporated milk, coconut milk, cinnamon and nutmeg. And rum, if alcohol is involved. Some of them also use cream of coconut (instead of coconut milk) which would push the sweetness even further. Ginger was in about half of the recipes I came across. I'm glad the one I made had that in there though; I like the way the spice comes through the tropical sweetness.
None of the ones I came across had regular milk which is listed in the recipe below. While I really enjoyed the flavors involved in the recipe I used, until I added some whole milk it was just too rich, heavy and sweet for my taste. Adding a little milk, and a hefty amount of extra rum, seemed to bring things in line. The result is still a rich and heavy egg nog. I just don't feel the need to lay down halfway in.
In my mind egg nog season is Thanksgiving to New Years though those bookends have been known to shift around our house. The ground is white and the temperature isn't supposed to get much higher than the single digits for the next few days so I don't mind having this stuff around for a little while. And, if it's like the egg nog I'm used to making, a couple of weeks in the fridge might make things even better.
Coquito - adapted from Maria del Mar Sacasa's version here
1 (12 oz) can Evaporated Milk
8 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 (2 inch) piece of Ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch discs
1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (13.5 oz) can Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Whole Milk (optional)*
1 1/4 cups White Rum
1/2 cup Aged Rum
4 Large Egg Yolks
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
Garnish - more Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Bring evaporated milk, cloves, cinnamon stick and ginger to boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes then strain off solids and let cool to room temp.
In a blender add the spiced milk (from above), sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, rum, egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and blend until fully combined and foamy. About 1-2 minutes. Refrigerate. Yields 2 quarts.
*I added this to cut some of the sweetness of the coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. I suppose I could have pulled back on those two items but I like how this recipe uses the whole can for that stuff. I could easily imagine a couple ounces of either of those two languishing for months in the back of the fridge.