National Coquito Day Date in the current year: December 21, 2024

National Coquito Day “There wasn't an ounce of snow, but oh, the coquito would flow!”, sings Daniela, a character from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s iconic musical In the Heights, while sharing her childhood memories of Christmas in Puerto Rico with her neighborhood. Coquito is a Puerto Rican Christmas drink that even has its own holiday, National Coquito Day, which is celebrated annually on December 21.

Coquito is a coconut-based Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico, although similar alcoholic beverages can be found throughout the Caribbean. Its name is translated from Spanish as “little coconut”; the cocktail was named so because its key ingredients include coconut milk and coconut cream. Outside of Puerto Rico, coquito is sometimes referred to as Puerto Rican eggnog, but the original coquito recipe doesn’t call for eggs. Some recipes do include egg yolks, but they are an optional ingredient.

The origins of coquito are unclear, but some believe that it was introduced to Puerto Rico during the Spanish colonization. The Spanish brought their version of eggnog to Puerto Rico and substituted local rum for whatever liquor the original recipe called for, and so coquito was born. As the Spanish settled in other parts of the Caribbean, different variations of the recipe emerged throughout the region. However, there isn’t enough evidence to confirm or refute this theory.

Be that as it may, it is hard to imagine the Christmas season in Puerto Rico without coquito. The four basic ingredients of the beverage are rum, coconut milk, coconut cream, and sweetened condensed milk. The resulting cocktail is sweet and strong; it is usually served in a shot glass as a digestif, i.e. after dinner.

Although the traditional coquito recipe is pretty simple, there are many variations of the beverage that can include various flavorings. Coquito is often flavored with spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Other flavorings that may be added include banana, coffee, cream cheese, ginger, honey, lemon or lime zest, masala chai, Nutella, oat milk, pistachio milk, star anise, and strawberries. Some Puerto Rican families have coquito recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Coquito is primarily associated with Christmas, but it can be made as early as Thanksgiving and as late as Epiphany (Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos). A variation of coquito made for Thanksgiving, named coquito de calabaza, is flavored with pumpkin purée and pumpkin spice. The beverage has become so popular recently that pre-made bottled coquito can be found in supermarkets and grocery stores during the holiday season.

National Coquito Day was founded in 2018 by Don Q, a Puerto Rican rum brand produced by Destilería Serrallés. The best way to celebrate it is, of course, to make a batch of cocktails and share them with your friends and family. Throw a Puerto Rican-themed Christmas party and experience an amazing combination of tropical flavors and Christmas mood! And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media using the hashtag #NationalCoquitoDay.

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