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Coquito, in short, is a homemade Puerto Rican Eggnog with Rum. In Puerto Rican neighborhoods, the Coquito flows during the Las Fiestas Patronales, or the Feast of the Patron Saints, and Christmas. Every family has its own recipe. According to our elders, in olden times the success of a shindig was measured on the quality of the family Coquito. Here is a great receipe from Oswald Rivera’s, “Puerto Rican Cuisine in America: Nuyorican and Bodega Recipes”.

Ingredients:

2 ripe coconuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk      

5 egg yolks, lightly beaten

3 cups 151 proof (dark) rum

1 5-ounce can evaporated milk

Directions:

1.         With a hammer or mallet, crack open the coconuts. They should break into several pieces.

2.         Place pieces in the oven and heat for 5 minutes at a low setting. This will make  it easier to remove the coconut skin from the shell.

3.         With a small paring knife, remove coconut from the shell. Discard shell.

4.         Grate the coconut pieces using a hand grater or food processor.

5.         Place grated coconut in a saucepan or pot and add warm water to cover. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

6.         Wrap moist coconut shreds in cheesecloth or a clean handkerchief. Press tightly with the hands so that coconut milk will be strained into a saucepan. Discard grated coconut.

7.         In a large bowl, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon, egg yolks, coconut milk and rum. Pour in a blender and blend 10-20 seconds. This may be done in  portions.

8.         Pour into soda bottles (1 liter or 1 quart) and cap tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

9.         Serve in glasses with a sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon.

 Yield: 14 to 16 servings.

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