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Yes, “eating is the beginning of happiness”! I’ve had this French commercial slogan for a few days in my head now and nothing is more true!
Of course, food is essential to survive, but it plays an important part in our well-being in addition to providing pleasure. And the pleasure of pleasing is infinite! Obviously, I am speaking to all of you who not only cook but put a lot of heart in gathering your family and friends for holidays and celebrations.
Pleasing makes people happy so let’s be happy!
From his sunny Beverly Hills residence, Mike must probably miss the cold. And if this week, he chose to take you to Malta to enjoy an imbuljuta tal-Qastan, this hot beverage with an unpronounceable name. Now, since I am the one who misses the sun, I will be taking you under the coconut trees!
Direction Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment, for its famous cocktail called coquito! The beginning of happiness is not only about eating well… it is also about drinking well!
And if Mike decided to stay sober for once… I decided not to!
This beverage is called lait de poule in France, egg flip or egg-hot in England, biersuppe or Eierlikör in Germany, eggnog in the US, or advocaat in the Netherlands. Coquito is actually nothing more than the Puerto Rican version of eggnog.
But how did a poultry that never gave milk make it to the name of this recipe? This recipe takes its name from its ingredients: hen’s egg mixed with milk which simply becomes eggnog.
Eggnog (lait de poule) is a popular drink born in Europe in the Middle Ages. It was an English medieval drink with warm milk and wine, to which eggs were added to thicken the texture. Posset would be one of its possible ancestors. Eggnog was known for its restorative benefits. The term “eggnog” was the generic name of a type of hot beverage containing raw egg, sugar and a hot liquid, often orange blossom water and later milk, with an optional dash of alcohol, which was used to invigorate sick people. Eggnog then spread out throughout the centuries to many European countries with regional variations and under different names that I stated above.
In the 1930s, in France, this drink was often served to children. Composed of milk, cream, sugar, egg yolk and flavored with nutmeg or cinnamon, it was traditionally served mainly on Christmas Eve but also throughout the winter.
Once the recipe came to the United States, rum was added. In colonial America, rum was commonly called grog. The name eggnog is therefore derived from egg-and-grog, which turned into egg’n’grog and later eggnog. Rich, spiced and alcoholic, eggnog soon became a very popular winter drink throughout America. The season usually starts at Thanksgiving and ends at New Year, although many North Americans willingly consume eggnog during the rest of winter.
You can imagine that once the beverage arrived in the islands, coconut got involved.
Coquito is so popular in Puerto Rico that it has become an art! Indeed, the Museum del Barrio is a museum dedicated to Latin American and Caribbean arts, located in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. Every year, it hosts a competition for the best coquito just before Christmas.
And finally on the health side, I must first tell you about the eggs, which are eaten raw in this recipe, must be extremely fresh! No doubt, coquito is an incredible energy drink which has also the power to treat bronchitis, colds and flus.
In the nineteenth century, in the famous novel by Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary’s pharmacist prepares eggnog, renowned for its virtues to whet the appetite, he said. However, nutritionally, I would suggest to immediately get on a diet… tomorrow as Mike would say, because given the impressive number of calories, I couldn’t tell you that this sweet and fat beverage is healthy.
Anyway, coquito is a delicious drink that kids and adults alike will enjoy… well, make it virgin for kids, of course!
Recipe of Coquito
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Rest time: 4 hours
Ingredients (4 people)
- 3 cups coconut cream
1-1/2 cup rum
3 cups condensed milk
6 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, to sprinkle
Cinnamon sticks, to garnish
Mix all the ingredients but the nutmeg and cinnamon stick in a blender for 4 minutes.
Put the drink in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Serve coquito chilled, with sprinkled nutmeg.
Garnish with cinnamon stick.