12 Facts About Puerto Rico’s Delicioso Coquito Plus a Recipe


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By Cynthia De Saint

December 8, 2022

Think you know all about coquito? Here are 12 facts about the “little coconut”… and a queen’s own recipe (hello, Dayanara!) for the holidays.

Creamy, rich, deliciously sweet… Es el invitado que no puede faltar en las celebraciones de Navidad y Año Nuevo. But although Boricuas have been enjoying it for generations, there are some things even its biggest fans may not know about the rum, coconut milk, cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon concoction.

Más Boricua que el Coquí

  1. The origin of coquito is shrouded in mystery… Some believe the person who created it is unknown, as well as how the recipe began.
  2. Others believe the drink was originally introduced by the Spaniards during Puerto Rico’s colonial era, and was made with Caribbean rum. But Boricuas made it their own with the addition of coconut.
  3. According to yet another legend, coquito was created in the 1950s after condensed milk was introduced on the island. The combination of coconut water and rum was already a popular mixture, so adding condensed milk was the obvious next step.
  4. Coquito first appeared in writing in two Puerto Rican cookbooks, “Cocine a Gusto” and “The Puerto Rican Cookbook,” published between 1950 and 1970. 
  5. Although it is más Boricua que el coquí, many countries have adopted the creamy drink, and put its own spin on the original recipe. In Spain, the drink is typically accompanied by turrón, and in Cuba, coconut ice cream is served alongside coquito.
  6. Many families have their own variations of the recipe that are passed down through generations, and they guard their “secret” under lock and key. Among the other flavorings sometimes added are star anise, pistachio milk, oat milk, coffee, Nutella, masala chai, cream cheese, banana, and strawberries.
  7. Un motivo para dar gracias: there is even a Coquito de calabaza made for Thanksgiving with pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin purée!
  8. Then there’s the coquito de piña colada that blends Puerto Rico’s national drink with its national holiday drink. For this divine concoction, the basic coquito recipe is blended with pineapple juice, maraschino cherries, lime zest, heavy cream, and bitters.
  9. Some recipes include egg yolks, making it similar to eggnog, and known as ponche de Coquito.
  10. Since 2002, El Museo del Barrio in New York City has hosted an annual coquito tasting contest called Coquito Masters on Three Kings Day in January. 
  11. And in 2018, National Coquito Day, which is celebrated December 21, was launched in 2018 by Destilería Serrallés, a Puerto Rico-based producer boasting a rum-making history dating back to more than 153 years across 6 generations.
  12. Coquito has some famous fans! Jimmy Fallon has mentioned the drink in episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and even introduced actress Nicole Kidman to its delights in a recent episode. And the hosts of CBS This Morning enjoyed it on the show’s 2021 New Year’s Eve broadcast. 

A Queen’s Own Recipe for Coquito

There are many coquito recipes to be found. Did we mention that everyone has their own version that they guard bajo llave? Luckily, actress Dayanara Torres, Puerto Rico’s own Miss Universe (1993), has generously shared her homemade recipe. Enjoy!


  • 2 cans of evaporated milk
  • 2 cans of condensed milk
  • 2 cans of Coco López (cream coconut)
  • Cinnamon powder
  • ½ liter of Puerto Rican Rum (aproximadamente) – equivalent to 2.11 cups of rum


  1. Prep half of the ingredients and add to the blender (one can of evaporated milk, condensed milk and Coco López). Combine and transfer to a jug or a large glass bottle.
  2. Repeat step one and place in another jug or large glass bottle.
  3. After completing steps one and two, add rum to taste.  
  4. Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool completely.
  5. Optional: Add cinnamon sticks to the jug or glass bottle.




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