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This easy Vegan Coquito recipe is guaranteed to be a hit at your holiday parties this year! It’s just as rich and creamy as the traditional Puerto Rican drink but made entirely from plant-based ingredients. This coconut and rum-filled cocktail is a must-make during Christmas time!
Table of Contents
What is Coquito?
Coquito is a traditional Puerto Rican holiday beverage that is widely referred to as “Puerto Rican Eggnog”. It’s a rich and creamy coconut-based drink that is often spiked with rum, giving it the perfect boozy kick! Coquito is best served chilled or over ice with your favorite holiday garnish, such as Coconut Whipped Cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, or grated nutmeg!
The original recipe is coconut-based, but it’s typically made with dairy-based ingredients like condensed milk and evaporated milk, too. This unfortunately makes the traditional coquito not vegan. But with just a couple of simple swaps, we’ve not only made a vegan version of coquito but have created a festive drink that tastes just like the beloved traditional Puerto Rican Christmas Drink!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Vegan evaporated milk: We made our own by boiling down plain, unsweetened, non-dairy milk. Try our Homemade Almond Milk, or another non-dairy milk of choice such as soy milk, cashew milk, or oat milk would work well. We wouldn’t recommend using a can of full-fat coconut milk as this will make the drink too thick and rich. If you can access already made vegan evaporated milk, opt for that instead.
- Cream of coconut: This coconut product is a classic ingredient in a classic Puerto Rican Coquito for its sweet, rich coconut flavor. Note that cream of coconut is not the same as traditional, unsweetened coconut cream or a classic can of coconut milk. Cream of coconut is a sweetened coconut product made from a combination of coconut milk and added sugar. It’s made primarily from coconut fat, giving it a consistency similar to condensed milk.
- Vegan condensed milk: Adds the perfect sweet, syrup-like richness to the chilled beverage. We used a full 11.25-ounce can, but feel free to adjust if you are sensitive to sweetness!
- Rum: If preferred, you can make an alcohol-free coquito and enjoy this holiday drink without rum, but we like to add anywhere between 1/2-1 1/2 cups of rum depending on how strong we want it. We recommend starting with just 1/2 cup and slowly increasing to taste. Any type of rum such as white rum, spiced rum, and dark rum all work well.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla adds the perfect, rich vanilla flavor that compliments the richness of the coconut. If preferred, opt for pure vanilla paste or add freshly scraped vanilla from vanilla beans!
- Spices: Ground cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth, sweetness, and the perfect cozy aroma to this cocktail.
- Salt: A small pinch of salt balances the sweet and rich coconut flavors. We used sea salt, but Himalayan salt or kosher salt will work, too!
For full measurements and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make a Vegan Coquito
- Reduce the non-dairy milk into “evaporated” milk. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the non-dairy milk and bring to a simmer. Let the milk simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the volume reduces by half.
- Strain and cool. Once the milk has reduced by half, strain the mixture and measure out 1 1/2 cups of the “evaporated” milk. Set the milk in the fridge to cool.
- Blend with the remaining ingredients. After the milk has been sufficiently chilled, pour it into a blender jar, along with the coconut cream, vegan condensed milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and rum, as desired. Blend until completely smooth and well combined.
- Chill for at least 4 hours. Pour the coquito into a pitcher or container and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
- Serve. Once chilled, serve in chilled glasses and enjoy!
This boozy cocktail is often enjoyed as a standalone drink, and most commonly served during the holiday season at festive gatherings or as a creamy nightcap. We recommend serving it as a dessert beverage or after-dinner drink.
Planning the ultimate vegan Christmas meal? Check out our 50 Easy Vegan Christmas Recipes!
Yes! These days several brands make dairy-free condensed milks that are carried in main large chain grocery stores. Nature’s Charm is one of the most popular brand options. They sell Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk as well as Sweetened Condensed Oat Milk. They also sell a pre-made Evaporated Oat Milk you could use in the Puerto Rican cocktail to quicken the prep time!
Clumpy coquito is often the result of improper mixing or drastic temperature fluctuations. For the best, creamy, and smooth cocktail, carefully follow our instructions for chilling the evaporated milk and blend smoothly in a quality, high-speed blender.
At a glance, coquito and eggnog look very similar and are both served chilled, but several characteristics set these two holiday cocktails apart!
Coquito originated in Puerto Rico and is traditionally coconut and rum-based, while Europe’s eggnog is primarily made with dairy milk and egg yolks. Coquito is also typically thicker and creamier than the traditional nog.
Most store-bought vegan condensed milk and cream of coconut are quite sweet, but if you find your coquito could use additional sugar, add additional sweetener to taste. We’d recommend using agave or a classic simple syrup over maple syrup to help keep the color of your beverage light!
Transfer any leftover coquito to an airtight glass bottle, such as a mason jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.