Today, we are headed to 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!
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. Traditional coquito is actually nothing more than the Puerto Rican version of eggnog.
But how does a poultry that never gave milk has to do with 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 coquito recipe, must be extremely fresh! No doubt, coquito is an incredible energy drink which has also the power to treat bronchitis, colds and flus. There seems to be a lot of debate, even among Puerto Ricans, about what makes an authentic coquito, and whether it includes or doesn’t include eggs. I will let you decide for yourself!
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… 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 a virgin coquito for kids, of course! And it’s your choice whether you want to include eggs or not!
- 3 cups coconut cream
- 1½ cup rum
- 3 cups condensed milk
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 vanilla pod split and scraped
- ½ 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.