The Christmas holiday is near and people in different parts of the world will have its own way of celebrating. The Puerto Rican Christmas version is known as Navidad. This is the day of Christmas-December 25 where Christians celebrate the birthday of Jesus. It is thought that Santa Claus will be bringing gifts to kids in which the custom originated in the USA way back 1940′s and now has become Puerto Rico’s Holiday tradition. Navidad is the time of tradition, aguinaldos, décimas, y de ser jíbaro Puertorriqueño which is the best of Puerto Rican culture.

Puerto Rican Food

Puerto Ricans begin their Christmas celebrations early in December and perhaps would end on the first week of January. Of course, this is the best time to talk about Puerto Rican food. The Puerto Rican cuisine is similar to that of Spanish, Mexican, and Cuban with a delightful blend of African, Taíno, and American influences.

Nochebuena is a special dinner party done on Christmas Eve. Puerto Ricans like chicken so you would always see as part of the main dish, like baked chicken or turkey, and roasted pork or ham which is accompanied by Spanish rice with pigeon peas, local vegetables like cooked green bananas, fried plantains or cooked yam.

Some of the food appetizers and food during dinner generally includes with sizzling-hot appetizers such as bacalaitos, crunchy cod fritters; surullitos, sweet plump cornmeal fingers; and empanadillas, crescent-shaped turnovers filled with lobster, crab, conch, or beef. It is also thought that soups are a popular beginning for meals on Puerto Rico just like in other countries. There is a debate about whether one of the best-known soups, frijoles negros (black-bean soup), is Cuban or Puerto Rican in origin. Nevertheless, it is still a savory, if filling, opening to a meal. For their Holiday desserts, they have “arroz con dulce” (rice cooked with spices, sugar, milk, and coconut milk) and “tembleque” (a custard made with cornstarch, sugar, and coconut milk). They taste better cool down or cold, when its consistency becomes more solid. One for the festive Puerto Rican food is the lechón asado, or barbecued pig, which is usually cooked for a party of 12 or 15. It is traditional for picnics and al fresco parties. These are just one of the Puerto Rican food serve during holidays.

Despedida de Año is celebrated on December 31 in time to end the year and face and new one. The biggest and most important for all children is what they call, el Día de Reyes on January 6th. This is the day when children open their gifts the night before the Three Wise Men (Kings) left.

Their Christmas is different as they have a special “pava” (traditional straw-hat) to be worn just for Christmas. They have their own version of Christmas caroling which they call Parranda. It is when a small group of folks gathers to surprise another folk and they will be bringing their musical instruments like either guitarras, tamboriles, güiro maracas, or palitos in which they will play the traditional Aguinaldos.

By Xerxes Bernadez

Now since Coquito originates from Puerto Rico, I thought where would the best place to get Coquito info? From Puerto Rico of course! The official Puerto Rico website provides some good background info on this festive drink, as well as some recipe recommendations.

Coquito is an alcoholic drink that is very similar to eggnog. It is made from different ingredients such as evaporated milk, condensed milk, rum, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, eggs and coconut cream, but ingredients can be varied according to taste. The vanilla and evaporated milk is often used to make the drink sweeter and the rum can be replaced with Cognac. When in Puerto Rico over the holidays or New Year, visitors are almost guaranteed to find Coquito available at the dinner table. For those who cannot get to Puerto Rico anytime soon, but would like to taste a truly traditional drink, here are two variations of the recipe.

Ingredients for the First Recipe
28 oz of coconut milk
2 cups of rum
14 oz of condensed milk
4 egg yolks.

All the ingredients are then put into a blender and mixed together. Once the mixture is ready, it is then either thrown into small glasses or a bottle, and then put into the fridge overnight. When serving, a little nutmeg can be sprinkled over for taste and decoration.

Ingredients for the Second Recipe
2 cans of coconut milk
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups rum
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Once again, all the ingredients are mixed together and left in the fridge overnight to chill.

Get more info at: PuertoRico.com

Each year as the holidays roll around you can always count on people talking about their favorite holiday dishes, drinks and deserts. Mention eggnog and you can just about count on someones eyes lighting up in the room! What’s surprised me over the years is the variation in eggnog recipes, and so it’s not surprising that different cultures have addded their own twist to the traditional drink.

The Puerto Rican culture has a festive drink called Coquito, which is similar to eggnog but contains some different ingredients with most notably the inclusion of coconut milk or cream.

Coquito is made in a number of variations, and there has even been a contest in New York that pits the masters to the test for the best Coquito recipe. Some examples of the variations incluede spanish Coquito recipes, Coquito without eggs, Coquito with eggs, Coquito with condesed milk, Coquito with a touch of chocolate, etc…

So if you’re looking for new festive drink to have at your holiday party, then take a look at the recipes featured throughout the site. If you’re already familiar with this tasty drink then feel free to submit your recipe and we will add it to the collection. Be sure to include why your recipe is the best Coquito recipe!

Coquito Origin: Puerto Rico

Core Coquito Ingredients:

White rum
Egg yolks
Evaporated milk
Condensed milk
Coconut milk

Ingredients to spice it up:

Cinnamon sticks
Powdered cinnamon

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