Pictured above alongside a cranberry pocket, coquito is a Puerto Rican holiday drink much like a coconut flavored, rum laced eggnog, not to be confused with the Chilean palm wine by the same name. Coquito seems to get its name from either or both the Spanish word for coconut - "coco" - and the name of PR's beloved tree frog, the coqui. A rough English translation of this delicious drink would therefore be "cocofrogo" or "frogonut."
Traditionally served cold in honor of its hot place of origin, it seemed fair to heat it up in wintry New England. The warm coquito Elise and I made was fantastic, even though we ignored many of the ingredients that all the recipes suggest. We just went for the basics: coconut milk, egg, milk, sugar, rum, and those magical spices we all love at this time of the year. I also added pepper, having wanted to ever since reading about the addition of pepper sauce to hot punch in the Jack London short story "To the Man on the Trail." The coquito was warm, sweet, rich, and strong.
Since my first sip of a coquito made by our friend Marilola at a Brandeis party, I've wanted more. Ours was almost as good, though difficult to wipe off of the holiday cards it spilled on when I was trying to get a better angle for the photo.
Note: I predict that within five years the general public will be aware of coquito in the same way that dulce de leche has become a household flavor. It has all the makings of a food trend and only needs to tip.