Eggnog and Coquito: Everything You Need to Know About these Traditional Holiday Drinks
Eggnog and its Puerto Rican counterpart, coquito, are two fan favorite traditional holiday drinks. Coquito is often referred to as “Puerto Rican eggnog made with coconut,” but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. While they may look similar on the surface, there are major differences in their ingredients and origins.
Differences between the two traditional drinks begins with their ingredient list. Eggnog, as its name implies, is made using eggs along with other staple ingredients. Meanwhile, coquito (which means “little coconut” in Spanish) requires coconut instead. While traditional Puerto Rican coquito does not include eggs, it is still a common ingredient in some versions, especially in Mexico.
Both beverages are made using milk, however, they often use different types of milk. Eggnog uses whole milk that is sweetened with sugar. Coquito uses sweetened condensed and evaporated milk.
Both recipes often include festive spices like nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and clove. Non-traditional flavors like star anise, almond and lemon zest, are also used to enhance and customize flavor. Many coquito and eggnog recipes are mixed with various liquors like rum or bourbon.
The first recorded use of the word eggnog came far earlier than coquito. Settlers in the colonial United States had access to fresh eggs and milk in much larger quantities than before, which popularized many dairy and egg based foods and drinks, including eggnog. No one knows where exactly the word came from, but the first recorded use of the word was in 1775.
Meanwhile, the origin of coquito is less clear, and it is believed to have been invented sometime in the 1900s. Coquito first appeared in writing inside two Puerto Rican cookbooks, Cocine a Gusto and The Puerto Rican Cookbook, published between 1950 and 1970. It’s possible that coquito’s origins go back much further than that because some theorize that Spaniards introduced it to the Caribbean during Puerto Rico’s colonial era. At that time it was made with Caribbean rum before Puerto Rico made the recipe its own by adding coconut.
Modern Day Recipes
Regardless of where these two traditional holiday drinks came from, they both now come in many variations. Eggnog and coquito are often flavored. Popular choices include pumpkin, coffee, strawberry, pistachio, chocolate, butterscotch, and vanilla.
Coquito is also made differently throughout Latin America. As previously mentioned, Mexican styled coquito includes egg. Cuba uses coconut ice cream, and the Caribbean uses fresh coconut juice.
Both traditional holiday drinks are rich; smooth; and made with nutritious, delicious, and wholesome milk. The only way to know which one is your favorite is to give them a try! Below are recipes for eggnog, coquito, and fun foods that use them as ingredients. What are you waiting for? Go grab some fresh, Florida milk from your local store and enjoy!
Buckingham, Cheyenne. (2019, November 25). What is Eggnog and How do You Make It?. Eat This, Not That. https://www.eatthis.com/eggnog/
Kim, Soo. (2019, December 21). National Coquito Day 2019: Coquito Origins, Recipes and Discounts. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/national-coquito-day-puerto-rico-rum-recipes-discounts-1476561