Video by: Ignacio Torres
Whether you call it rompope (if you’re Mexican), ponche crema (if you’re Venezuelan), crema de vie (if you’re Cuban) or coquito (if you’re from Puerto Rico), rum-spiked coconut punch is a decidedly delicious, Latin holiday treat. And while everyone has their favorite version of this creamy cocktail – some swear by the addition of egg yolks, others insist on a twist of lemon – there are a few ingredients that are essential to mixing up the perfect coquito.
“First things first,” says bartender Aaron Fitas, who counts coquito as one of the most popular holiday cocktails he offers at New York City eatery Yerba Buena. “You need to use rum and coconut milk – those are the essentials.”
Fitas uses coconut-flavored rum in his version of the cocktail, which he says results a more intense coconut flavor without the added calories of coconut cream. (Although with the holidays, who’s counting calories anyway?) And it’s the use of coconut and rum – a Caribbean spirit made from distilling sugar cane juice – that sets this rich concoction apart from plane-jane eggnog.
Fitas, who plans to recreate his mother’s recipe for Venezuelan pan de jamon this Christmas for New York City-area friends, says the real “secret” to the cocktail is to let the blender and fridge do most of the work, adding that letting the mixture sit for a few hours in the refrigerator allows the flavors to fully develop. After that he says, it’s time for a toast. Merry Christmas!
A can of coconut milk
6oz coconut flavored rum
2oz condensed milk
a pinch of powdered clove
Preparation: Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend for two minutes. Pour the contents into a jar and let it cool in the fridge for at least three hours.
Serve in a rocks glass with ice, and sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top. Makes about six servings.