The grown-up milkshake

BY DEBBIE MATTHEWS, The Curious Cook
Posted 1/3/20

I can’t think of a manner in which to warn a child away from something that’s both so counterproductive and alluring.

I was 10. We were living in Puerto Rico, and attending a Christmas party. …

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The grown-up milkshake

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Posted

I can’t think of a manner in which to warn a child away from something that’s both so counterproductive and alluring.

I was 10. We were living in Puerto Rico, and attending a Christmas party. The hosts served creamy, delicious-looking drinks called coquito. When I requested one, my mom said no, because they were “grown-up” milkshakes. Ten minutes later, on very wobbly legs, I made my way into a quiet corner after secretly sampling said milkshake.

Coquito is a delicious milky potion. Silky, rich, and full of the tastes of coconut, ginger, and spices. The ingredient that gave me noodle-knees was rum — specifically Barcardi 151.

You may be wondering why I’m talking about holiday drinks just a few day after both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The answer is Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar.

Many of us know them as the three Wise Men, but in countries with Latin heritage, they are known as the Three Kings. Christmas is celebrated there but without much of the fanfare, parties and gifts. But Three Kings’ Day is a rum-soaked, sequined-adorned, Samba dancing celebration. In Puerto Rico, it’s the equivalent of Christmas, New Year’s and Mardi Gras, all rolled into one giant party. And coquito is a huge, festivity-lubricating part. Each family has its own special coquito recipe and tradition.

For you, Gentle Reader, I have the cherished family coquito recipe of Becky Lopez. Becky’s the wife of Jose, the former Durham Chief of Police, and my friend and Puerto Rican cooking coach.

And there’s time to prepare a batch. Three Kings’ Day doesn’t occur until January 6th. So go forth and party.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at dm@bullcity.mom.

Becky’s Family Coquito (In Becky’s own words)

• 5 fresh cinnamon sticks

• 1/4 thumb-size piece of ginger (about 1/2-inch.)

• 2 capfuls of vanilla extract

• 2 egg yolks (no membrane)

• 2 cans of evaporated milk

• 2 cans of coconut milk

• 1 can of coconut syrup (Coco Lopez)

• 151 proof dark rum or your choice of dark rum (Important: add only after mixture has cooled down) (NOTE: Bacardi stopped making 151 proof. I now use Cruzan 151 proof aged rum.)

Take cinnamon sticks and smash them in a paper towel with a mallet so that their oils and taste may be released in the boil. Peel the ginger then cut it into thin pieces. Place the cinnamon and ginger in a small pot filled halfway with water and boil it for about 15 min. This should yield no more than 1 cup of liquid mixture.

Open one can of evaporated milk and one can of coconut milk and empty them onto a large pot. Place your egg yolks in this milk mixture. Stir this well until there is no separation between eggs and liquid. Remove anything that is floating (remove any egg membrane) and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the coconut syrup, stir then add the rest of the ingredients including the vanilla extract, cinnamon and ginger water. Stir well. Cool down and add rum to your taste.

Optional: Before adding rum, place this mixture in a cold place (fridge or outside) at 45 degrees or lower overnight then strain the congealed fat from the top.

When the mixture has cooled down, add the rum to your taste.

Because the eggs were slowly cooked this drink can last for years in the fridge. Grandma would always bring out the last year’s Coquito (which always tastes better) and served it in shot glasses. With time, it mixes and thickens creamy even more.

I have had up to 4-year-old Coquito in my fridge. The trick is to shake your refrigerated bottles at least once a month.

¡Buen provecho! (Bon Appetite!)

 

Becky’s Family Coquito (In Becky’s own words)

• 5 fresh cinnamon sticks

• 1/4 thumb-size piece of ginger (about 1/2-inch.)

• 2 capfuls of vanilla extract

• 2 egg yolks (no membrane)

• 2 cans of evaporated milk

• 2 cans of coconut milk

• 1 can of coconut syrup (Coco Lopez)

• 151 proof dark rum or your choice of dark rum (Important: add only after mixture has cooled down) (NOTE: Bacardi stopped making 151 proof. I now use Cruzan 151 proof aged rum.)

Take cinnamon sticks and smash them in a paper towel with a mallet so that their oils and taste may be released in the boil. Peel the ginger then cut it into thin pieces. Place the cinnamon and ginger in a small pot filled halfway with water and boil it for about 15 min. This should yield no more than 1 cup of liquid mixture.

Open one can of evaporated milk and one can of coconut milk and empty them onto a large pot. Place your egg yolks in this milk mixture. Stir this well until there is no separation between eggs and liquid. Remove anything that is floating (remove any egg membrane) and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the coconut syrup, stir then add the rest of the ingredients including the vanilla extract, cinnamon and ginger water. Stir well. Cool down and add rum to your taste.

Optional: Before adding rum, place this mixture in a cold place (fridge or outside) at 45 degrees or lower overnight then strain the congealed fat from the top.

When the mixture has cooled down, add the rum to your taste.

Because the eggs were slowly cooked this drink can last for years in the fridge. Grandma would always bring out the last year’s Coquito (which always tastes better) and served it in shot glasses. With time, it mixes and thickens creamy even more.

I have had up to 4-year-old Coquito in my fridge. The trick is to shake your refrigerated bottles at least once a month.

¡Buen provecho! (Bon Appetite!)

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