Home to the longest holiday season in the world lasting an epic 45 days, there’s nowhere that celebrates the festive season quite like Puerto Rico. Festivities begin straight after Thanksgiving in November, stretching through December and culminating in mid-January. Whilst the holidays will look a little different this year, those dreaming of the azure shores, tropical flavours and breathtaking landscapes of Puerto Rico can get a taste of the island by recreating some of the island’s most famous holiday season tipples in the comfort of their own kitchens.
Here are five festive season cocktail recipes from Puerto Rico to try at home, from Coquito, a traditional eggnog-style holiday drink to the iconic Piña Colada which was invented in Puerto Rico, with some expert recipe tips from Puerto Rico’s top bars, venues and local businesses...
An essential part of a Puerto Rican Christmas, Coquito is the island’s take on eggnog, made with condensed milk, coconut milk, white rum and a choice of spices. Thick, creamy, indulgent and unmistakably tropical tasting, this traditional island drink holds a great deal of local heritage. Most families have their own variations of the recipe that are passed down through generations, and Bacardí even makes a limited-edition Christmas bottle of Coquito at its Puerto Rico distillery.
Those at home this year can make their own Coquito by blending 350ml dark spiced rum with a 400ml can of condensed milk, 400ml coconut cream, a 400ml can of coconut milk and 100ml evaporated milk. By adding two cinnamon sticks and a dash of nutmeg and vanilla extract, the Coquito comes to life in the sweetest, creamiest way.
A Piña Colada delivers an iconic taste of Puerto Rico and is a refreshing tipple enjoyed year-round on the island, where bartenders and mixologists each put their own personal twist on the much-loved drink. Stories on the origins of the Piña Colada fill Puerto Rico, with some islanders believing the drink dates back to the 1800s, crediting the creation of the cocktail to Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí who allegedly served Piña Coladas to his crew to boost morale.
Jungle Bird, a laidback bar in Santurce, San Juan, serves a delicious Piña Colada that can be recreated at home. Jungle Bird’s recipe calls for 60ml Don Q Gold Rum, 50ml coconut cream, 60ml pineapple juice, a dash of lime juice and a dash of Angostura bitters. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake for 30 seconds, before training into a wine glass. Jungle Bird recommends adding a maraschino cherry and a pineapple wedge for the full Puerto Rico experience.
Frozen Boozy Coconut-Limeade
The Spoon Experience, the culinary experts specialising in foodie tours of Puerto Rico, favour a Frozen Boozy Coconut-Limeade for a taste of the island. In a recipe that allows the flavour of Puerto Rican light rum to sing, The Spoon Experience crafts an irresistibly tropical twist on lemonade.
The Spoon Experience recommends adding ½ cup of lime juice, a cup of coconut cream, ½ cup of light rum and 2 ½ cups of ice to a blender. Once blended, add lime zest and a mint leaf and voila!
A mojito is a one-way taste ticket to the Caribbean, and the mojito found at La Factoría is part of the reason why this Old San Juan bar has secured its place on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Using Bacardí Superior Rum - a favourite in Puerto Rico - La Factoría’s recipe calls for specific measurements and a few secret ingredients to deliver the most authentic Caribbean flavour.
Follow in the footsteps of La Factoría’s award-winning mixologists by muddling 10 mint leaves in a highball glass with 60ml Bacardi Superior. Add 25ml lime juice, 25ml simple syrup and a dash of Angostura bitters. Finally, add crushed ice and a splash of club soda. Gently run a lime wedge along the rim of the glass before adding to the drink.
For a truly tropical twist on champagne Puerto-Rico-style, this champagne cocktail is the perfect choice. A drink so decadent that Bruno Mars sang about it in his track ‘That’s What I Like’, a Strawberry Champagne is best enjoyed with a high quality Puerto Rican rum like Bacardí Carta Blanca.
Rums of Puerto Rico, a venue in Old San Juan specialising in the island’s favourite spirit, uses the following recipe; muddle 50ml Bacardí Carta Blanca with a sliced strawberry, a generous squeeze of lime and 15ml simple syrup in the bottom of a glass. Top with champagne and a fresh strawberry to serve.