FEATURE | Miami New Times | 2022

If you love coconut, creamy cocktails, eggnog, and rum, chances are you love coquito.

Often described as the Puerto Rican version of eggnog, it shows up mid-November and finds its way to the table at holiday parties throughout December and January.

While most Puerto Ricans have been indulging in their homemade variations of coquito since around Thanksgiving, the season for this tropical boozy nog is still in full swing, shared among friends and family all the way through Día de los Reyes (Three Kings' Day) and the island's January 20 San Sebastián street festival.

The drink, whose name translates to "little coconut," is a decadently rich concoction made especially for the holiday season. Traditionally, the recipe starts with a blend of coconut cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk seasoned with vanilla, holiday spices, and some even with rum.

Most Puertorriqueños will tell you it's the toquecito — that unique variation found in every family recipe — that makes each family's batch of coquito special. In some households, it's the addition of eggs or shaved coconut. In others, it's an added touch of star anise, or maybe rum-soaked raisins.

For Miami native Jess Orta, founder of Coquito Miami 305, it's local flavors like pastelito de guayaba and cafecito that bestows her bottles of coquito that extra something. It's also what's helped turn a savvy side hustle into a bustling small business in just three years. What started as selling a few hundred bottles has grown into sales of more than 7,000 so far this season, she tells New Times.

While coquito is traditionally meant to be shared as a gift, these days there are plenty of ways to get your coquito fix without a family hookup. Many Miamians have established businesses peddling bottles of their unique family recipe — many with innovative riffs and nontraditional flavors — marketing their goods via Instagram, online, or through local grocers and markets.

Coquito Miami 305

It's Jess Orta's Cuban roots that set Coquito Miami 305 apart from all the rest. By adding a few extra spices to the mix — along with some very Miami flavors — Orta delivers a Cuban-inspired ode to this traditional holiday treat. Owing to her bartending background, flavors like pastelito de guayaba and cafecito shine thanks to homemade marmalades and coffee crafted in small batches. Don't miss her latest addition, "Coquiña," her piña colada-inspired recipe that adds a hint of pineapple to the mix. Bottles are priced at $25 each. For $10 more, all flavors are also available with vegan ingredients using coconut milk and almond milk.  Purchase at all Miami-Dade Pinecrest Bakery locations or order via coquitomiami305.com.