Coquito Tradicional

Today, Giuseppe Gonzalez posted a recipe for Coquito on Facebook (thank you @slkinsey), where it will quickly sink into the quick sands of Zuckerberg’s infernal timeline and vanish forevermore. I am reproducing the full text here, where it will remain buoyant, and I’m doing so without his permission.

Alas, this isn’t quite the family recipe he was turning out for a few years at Suffolk Arms, but I’m inclined to take seriously anything he says on this particular subject.

Before I begin… If you use this recipe, my only request is that you post a pic of your Coquito.
Let’s begin.
Puerto Ricans are the best. I know I’m biased but… fuck it. I can say that. I thank God everyday for making me part of a group of people that are built to survive and feel joy no matter what the fuck is going on. Our influence in the world, with respect to our size, is beyond comprehension to those outside of us.
So… in an effort to make your life better by making you more Puerto Rican, here are four reasons why you should drink Coquito versus egg nog for your Christmas:

  1. Egg nog is stupid. It’s basic. I don’t get it.
  2. It’s tastes like melted ice cream… which isn’t bad but it’s like not good either.
  3. Nobody really likes it. Seriously… nobody gets excited for egg nog season. Star Bucks already tried. They are sticking with pumpkin spice.
  4. The best recipe of egg nog isn’t even a traditional egg nog but Morgenthaler’s recipe which he Latinizes with Tequila and Sherry (because egg nog needs to be more Latin in order to be interesting).

So without further ado, here is my most basic recipe for Coquito. I’ve made it simple. Whole canned and bottled ingredients. Easy to follow. Easy to adjust. Easy to transform. Easy to add and take away. Easy to make your own way. Do whatever you want… I don’t care.
Be good to yourselves and walk away from Egg Nog.
It had a good run.
Let it die.
(And before you ask… This is not my personal coquito “Dos Leones.” No one who isn’t my family gets that recipe. You ain’t fucking my wife… make your own shit bro).

• 60 ounces/5 cans evaporated milk
• 60 ounces/4 cans cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
• 2 tbsp expensive vanilla extract
• 6 Long Mexican cinnamon sticks
• 3 tbsp ground nutmeg
• 4 Star anise
• 6 cloves
• 2 liters (2 bottle) Puerto Rican Rum… preferably ANYTHING Don Q but Palo Viejo will do if you want to keep it “jibaro”
Bring everything (without rum) to boil then immediately take off heat. Cool down. Add rum. Strain out spices (Save cinnamon sticks). Run through a blender for at least 1.5 minutes.
Bottle with used cinnamon sticks.
Yields about 6 bottles.
A few notes…

  1. There is no condensed milk in this recipe. You don’t need it if you blend and emulsify everything properly. If you don’t have a blender then… use it.
  2. Don’t get cheap vanilla extract… Google where it comes from. You’ll throw up.
  3. Get cinnamon bark that is dope. That other bullshit isn’t going to cut it.
  4. Use a hand blender if you got it. If you only have a regular blender… make sure you stir in between running the thing in small batches. When it has the consistency of half and half… you nailed it.
  5. Don’t cook with the alcohol in. Just a reminder.
  6. Don’t forget to let it cool! It can be slightly warm but… avoid it.
  7. Warm up your cans of Cream of coco BEFORE you do anything. The amount of coconut oil in each one varies. Lots of it will be solid at room temp. It’s easier to work with and infused if it’s already a liquid.

Lastly… if you are person that doesn’t believe in putting ketchup on your pasteles, you are not allowed to use this recipe. You are trash. If you don’t know what I’m talking about… it’s ok. You’ll get there.


This morning I made Coquito for the first time, without benefit of this post, but with the scraps of knowledge Giuseppe had divulged to me a few years ago. It’s in the same ballpark. His is the only version I’ve seen so far that involves a saucepan stage. I’m going to let it sit for a few days. Now we have to make pasteles con ketchup.

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The bottles of Dos Leones I got from him at Suffolk were usually still quite warm. I’m supposing the heat approach pertains mainly to whole spice extraction and ultimately texture, rather than just blending in a bunch of ground spices? Perhaps he was also pasteurizing?

The cinnamon sticks in those bottles were always pretty serious: hefty and long enough to jab a bear with.

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I kept my Dos Leones bottles with the hope of having them refilled the next season. It never came.

But, yes, I believe that was the purpose of the warming step, which makes a lot of sense. I did that yesterday. The recipe I had did not involve any blending at all, so we’ll see if that aspect is a step backward. They certainly seem mixed.

But how long should I rest them in the fridge?

You’ll probably have to taste your batch periodically and see if and how it’s developing.

I kept bottles of Dos Leones for over a year (refrigerated). It certainly got no worse, nor did it turn into anything new. Perhaps the flavor deepened, but I never had a control group. Clearly the abv was sufficient.

I uncorked them yesterday. Damned delicious. I’ll make another batch that’s closer to the new recipe.

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