Coquito is a egg nog-like, coconut based cocktail that is often shared around any festive time in many Caribbean Latin households. It’s common and exciting to receive a bottle of homemade coquito because the recipes can get quite creative from kitchen to kitchen. With the absence of raw egg and realizing that other kitchens incorporate different flavors I thought this year was my time to create my own coquito.
A common issue is with this drink is that it can easily become too sweet. My recipe cuts back on the amount of sweetened condensed milk and replaces it with homemade caramel which has a less intense sweetness and can also introduce a creme brûlée type of flavor if you choose to cook the sugar slightly longer until it’s a dark brown color. Making caramel at home is quite simple and it also helps to thicken the coquito once the entire mixture cools overnight in the refrigerator.
Ingredients for Caramel
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Ingredients for Coquito
- 15 oz (1 can) coconut cream
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 12 oz (1 can) evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 3 heaping tbs caramel sauce
- 1 tbs ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 cup rum
- In a medium saucepan heat sugar over medium-low heat. As the sugar melts on the bottom, stir frequently with a wooden or metal spoon. Clumps will form but do not worry, just keep stirring them into the melted sugar until it resembles maple syrup, about 5 minutes. This sugar can boil gently but reduce heat and stir harder if it starts to boil violently and/or burn.
- Slowly and carefully add heavy cream to melted sugar while continuing to stir. A semi-firm candy-like caramel will form and mixture will bubble violently which is okay. Just keep stirring until caramel is melted, bubbling evenly and a resembles a light brown color. If you prefer a strong caramel taste you can continue to cook another minute or 2 so the color turns to a dark brown. Remove caramel from heat and set aside.
- Add coconut cream to blender and set to medium-low speed. Keep the blender running as you gradually add the coconut milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, caramel and cinnamon. Do not blend at high speed (medium at most). If caramel has cooled you can soften it up my heating it in the microwave at 50% power (defrost) for one minute.
- Stir in rum and cool coquito in refrigerator overnight.
Yield: 5 cups (exact amount for one full standard blender)