Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coquito for Dummies

Right about this exact time of year, millions of Puertoricans get a terribly strong hankering for some special Egg Nog, and its not yo mama's egg nog, its my mama's egg nog. Every family that makes Coquito is very particular about their version, just like any other dish they take pride in making once a year. Coquito is a Puertorican egg nog that involves a very special ingredient, Coconut.

In my family, this was the only time of year as a youngster that the kids could have some. My Abuela and I would sit around, she critiqued, I sat in absolute anticipation. My mother used Coco Lopez, a very sweet cream of coconut, and a touch of coconut milk, along with an egg, a very precise mix of Light Bacardi Rum and Bacardi Superior (dark rum) and various spices. The smell was not as intoxicating as the various attempts it took for my mother to get the correct blend of the above ingredients. I started learning at the age of 12 with each batch. The eldest and youngest waited for their shot to be poured, and judged accordingly. The older I became, the more my mother trusted my judgement, and the more I liked rum.

This was a long standing tradition in not only my household, but held amongst many families, brining everyone into the kitchen, men and women, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, as a time of family unity while learning how to spread the joy of the holidays to others, through alcohol. This tradition held up in my household; we made large amounts of the stuff to hand out to co-workers, teachers, neighbors, family and friends as gifts. I continued the tradition upon moving to Illinois and North Carolina, to the delight of many who never had the opportunity to drink during business hours. In the meantime, I simplified this recipe so as to make much more than Mom could ever make, all with a simple replacement. So, just in time for this holiday season, please try your hand at the recipe below, and make it your own. Salud! Feliz Navidad!

LaineyLizzard's Easy Coquito:

(Blender Required)
3/4 can or pint of Egg Nog (check your local grocer's milk section)
1 can of Coco Lopez or other cream of coconut
1/4 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon of Allspice
1 teaspoon of ground Cloves
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon
2 ounces of Bacardi Superior, or jamaican rum
1 ounce of Bacardi Light Rum or equivalent

Blend all of the above ingredients. Add more egg nog should you find the consistency too thick. If not thick enough, add an egg yolk. Season with spices and enliven with more rum to taste. Shot test per addition of ingredient. Take asprin to prevent hang over before bed (just kidding, but seriously, drink lots of water) . Refrigerate before serving.