There's nothing wrong with serving eggnog at the holidays — it's a classic — but sometimes it's interesting to try something new like a Coquito. This creamy cocktail contains both cow's milk and coconut milk, and it's made in a large batch like eggnog. It's sometimes called a Puerto Rican Eggnog, even though it contains no eggs.

This recipe is courtesy of an American rum producer, Cooper River Distillers, a distillery that's doing its own brand of good by bringing revenue to Camden, New Jersey, one of the country's poorest cities. Owner James Yoakum sent this recipe out in the distillery's December newsletter. He generously gave me permission to share it.

"If you want to add a tropical vibe to your holiday celebrations that all your guests will enjoy," the newsletter says. "Just mix up a batch of coquitos! We like to make them a week or so in advance and store in the fridge to let the flavors marry."

The Coquito is easy to make and, unlike eggnog which requires some time on the stove if you want to make sure the eggs are safe, it's pretty much a dump, stir and chill process.


Coquito, cocktail The Coquito looks and tastes festive. (Photo: charlene mcbride/flickr)

In a large bowl or pitcher mix:

  • Two 12-ounce cans of evaporated milk
  • 15-ounce can of cream of coconut
  • 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup Petty's Island Rum (or other white rum)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cover and chill for a week. You can chill it for a shorter amount of time, but it gets better after several days.

To serve: Put in a chilled glass with 3/4 ounce of Driftwood Dream Spiced Rum (or other spiced rum) swirled-in and a cinnamon stick garnish.

Makes 7 servings

Other eggnog-like cocktails

brandy alexander, cocktail Brandy, cream and creme de cacao make up a Brandy Alexander. (Photo: Jason Lam/flickr)

These other milk- or cream-based cocktails are often served around the holidays, too.

  • Rompope - This Latin-style eggnog uses Aguardiente, an anise-flavored liqueur. Otherwise it's very similar to eggnog with the exception of the addition of orange peel. Glasses are rimmed with condensed milk, sugar and cinnamon.
  • Brandy Alexander - Brandy, cream and crème de cacao combine to make a milk-based cocktail with a little chocolate thrown in. Unlike eggnog, Coquito and Rompope, this drink is made on the spot, one at a time.
  • Tom & Jerry Punch - If you want something warm, try this egg-based drink. A batter with eggs, rum and spices is made and kept chilled. When you want to make a drink, you add hot milk and boiling water along with more rum and brandy. It's an American holiday drink that went out of fashion for a while, but it's back.
  • Algarrobina cocktail - This Peruvian cocktail often served on Christmas combines Pisco (a type of brandy), coffee liqueur, carob syrup, evaporated milk, an egg and ice.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.