If you love coconut, creamy cocktails, eggnog, and rum, chances are you love coquito.
Often described as the Puerto Rican version of eggnog, it shows up mid-November and finds its way to the table at holiday parties throughout December and January.
While most Puerto Ricans have been indulging in their homemade variations of coquito since around Thanksgiving, the season for this tropical boozy nog is still in full swing, shared among friends and family all the way through Día de los Reyes
(Three Kings' Day) and the island's January 20 San Sebastián street festival.
The drink, whose name translates to "little coconut," is a decadently rich concoction made especially for the holiday season. Traditionally, the recipe starts with a blend of coconut cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk seasoned with vanilla, holiday spices, and — of course — plenty of rum.
will tell you it's the toquecito
— that unique variation found in every family recipe — that makes each family's batch of coquito special. In some households, it's the addition of eggs or shaved coconut. In others, it's an added touch of star anise, or maybe rum-soaked raisins.
For Miami native Jess Orta, founder of Coquito Miami 305
, it's local flavors like pastelito de guayaba and cafecito that bestows her bottles of coquito that extra something. It's also what's helped turn a savvy side hustle into a bustling small business in just three years. What started as selling a few hundred bottles has grown into sales of more than 7,000 so far this season, she tells New Times
While coquito is traditionally meant to be shared as a gift, these days there are plenty of ways to get your coquito fix without a family hookup. Many Miamians have established businesses peddling bottles of their unique family recipe — many with innovative riffs and nontraditional flavors — marketing their goods via Instagram, online, or through local grocers and markets.
In the Magic City, where Latin culture abounds, the coquito game has expanded to become more than just an entrepreneurial endeavor. Even Miami-based spirit brand Candela Mamajuana has taken the holiday tradition to the next level, offering a unique way for rum lovers to create coquito at home.
What began as a fun way to sample their Dominican-made spiced rum as coquito during holiday tasting events in 2021 has since turned into a limited-edition branded kit, Candela Mamajuana founder Alejandro Russo tells New Times
"Although we are a Dominican spirit, and coquito is a Puerto Rican tradition, the two are perfect for each other," says Russo. "The spices in the rum are so flavorful, you don't need to add more cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg. Candela, like Miami, is all about embracing Latin and Caribbean traditions, and we think coquito is a great way to celebrate both — no matter who you are."
If it's a locally made coquito you're after, here are seven local brands offering their take on this festive holiday treat in Miami:
Candela Mamajuana makes coquito kits
Ready to mix it up this year with a spirited gift idea? Aspiring mixologists can spice up the holiday season with their coquito kit from Miami-based Candela Mamajuana. Although Candela is made in the Dominican Republic, it makes for the perfect coquito mixer. The naturally spiced rum is distilled from fresh sugar cane juice instead of molasses and aged in bourbon casks where it's infused with natural spices, creating an incredibly smooth and flavorful rum. That means you won't need to add cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove — the rum provides all the necessary spice. The kit arrives with all the necessities including a recipe card, cans of condensed milk, coconut cream, and evaporated milk, four limited-edition branded shot glasses, and — of course — a full-size bottle of Candela's premium spiced rum. Kits cost $60 each and can be purchased at drinkcandela.com
Coquito King 340
Tasheem Stevens fell in love with coquito sneaking the sweet libation back in St. Thomas at the age of 16. At 21, Stevens started making coquito for his friends. When he moved to Miami, that passion turned into a business. Stevens, truly Miami's coquito king, makes his coquito with five different spirits, including coconut rum from St. Croix. His coquito comes in 50 flavors, including hot cinnamon, eggnog, pumpkin spice, gingersnap, marshmallow cream, and cheesecake. The best sellers, according to Stevens, are pistachio, red velvet, and banana creme. Prices for the traditional flavors start at $25 for a pint and rise to $100 for a gallon jug. Specialty flavors cost an additional $2. Call 340-643-3250 or order via @coquitoking340
on Instagram to place an order for delivery (fees start at $5) in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Bottles of Miami Coquito 305.
Miami Coquito 305 photo
Coquito Miami 305
It's Jess Orta's Cuban roots that set Coquito Miami 305 apart from all the rest. By adding a few extra spices to the mix — along with some very Miami flavors — Orta delivers a Cuban-inspired ode to this traditional holiday treat. Owing to her bartending background, flavors like pastelito de guayaba and cafecito shine thanks to homemade marmalades and coffee crafted in small batches. Don't miss her latest addition, "Coquiña," her piña colada-inspired recipe that adds a hint of pineapple to the mix. Bottles are priced at $25 each. For $10 more, all flavors are also available with vegan ingredients using coconut milk and almond milk. Purchase at all Miami-Dade Pinecrest Bakery locations or order via coquitomiami305.com
Coquito Szn 305
Amanda Egbert began bartending in 2009 but got the itch to mix things up again in 2020. Rather than head back to the bar, the FIU student decided to try her hand at coquito. Inspired by her Puerto Rican abuela's love of her homeland's drink, Egbert's coquito honors her family heritage. This season, Egbert continues to offer up her take on an authentic coquito recipe, a unique blend of winter spices — no nutmeg! — each ground fresh and infused into Puerto Rican Palo Viejo rum. Her perfect balance of coconut cream and milk is considerably less sweet than most, paying homage to the name "little coconut." Flavors include cafe made with Cafe Bustelo and Nutella. Pair a customized hand-labeled bottle with Coquito Szn 305 custom coquito glassware for sale. Local pickup and nationwide shipping are available. Bottles range in size and price from $7-$70. Order via Instagram
With its easy-to-pronounce phonetical spelling, this longtime local brand has been offering up a traditional recipe to Miami coquito lovers since 2018. The founders, who go by the alias "Ximena" and "Alexander," say they share their family recipe for traditional coquito while also mixing up fun flavors like Nutella and pumpkin spice. Bottles are $25 for 700 milliliters and $15 for 350 milliliters. Bulk orders of 24 bottles or more must be placed ten days in advance. Local delivery and pickup are available. Order at kohkeetoh.com
Mike Cabrera makes and sells coquito.
Mike Cabrera photo
Mike Cabrera Coquito Mixologist
Fort Lauderdale bartender Mike Cabrera recently began batching up his version of coquito, offering locals a chance to sample his unique recipe. Cabrera says he learned to love coquito from his mother, who immigrated from Cuba to Puerto Rico before coming to Miami. Although she has her version of coquito, Cabrera has given his recipe yet another unique twist, offering a plethora of unique flavors, seasoning with fresh-grated spices, and blending the liquid ingredients to ensure a smooth, velvety texture that's just right. Flavors are created using fresh ingredients and include pistachio, cookies and cream, Nutella, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and pumpkin spice. Bottles are priced at $25 (classic), $30 (flavored), and $35 (limited-release flavors). Local pickup is available from 4-8 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale seven days a week through January. Order via Instagram
Luz Nazario's coquito business isn't just a cute name. It's actually an acronym for "no es de abuela." In English, it means "not your grandmother's coquito." Instead, her seasonal handcrafted beverage is vegan-friendly, a recipe derived from her Puerto Rican roots that is not only egg-, dairy-, and gluten-free — but also free from added rum, if you choose. This year, Nazario's "Coquito in a Box" lets you add your spirit of choice at home. The kit includes preparation instructions and serves six people. Prefer the work be done for you? Ned's Coquito bottles are made to order and are available for curbside pickup and delivery in South Miami through December 17, when Nazario returns to Puerto Rico for the holiday season to visit family. Kits are $25 each. Order via email at [email protected]
or purchase kits on Etsy