For many Latinos, the holidays aren’t quite the same without a good glass — or three — of coquito. But let’s face it, coquito isn’t exactly the healthiest beverage. The fat, dairy, and sugar in the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk aren’t things our diabetic, lactose intolerant and high cholesterol- suffering relatives should be having — even if it’s just a few days. What a lot of people don’t know is that the original coquito wasn’t actually made with sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk — those things were added years later. The original coquito Puerto Ricans were drinking on the island 50 years or so ago contained fresh coconut milk—like straight from the coconut—sugarcane and rum. If you think about it that way, then it makes sense to say that the original coquito was technically dairy-free. Here are a few healthy and dairy-free coquito recipes to try this holiday season that EVERYONE in your family can actually enjoy!
Coconut milk is the answer.
I’ve made this dairy-free coquito recipe multiple times this holiday season and all my friends were blown away at how good it was without the dairy. In fact, a few people made a point to tell me that the flavor was exactly the same to the coquito we all grew up drinking. The only difference is they didn’t experience the bloating and the stomachaches they normally would after. Puerto Rican chef, food expert and founder of Always Order Dessert, Alejandra Ramos uses canned coconut milk, sweetened cream of coconut (Coco Lopez). Vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, kosher salt, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, and 2 cups of white rum in her dairy-free coquito recipe. She also soaks 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews the night before and then adds them to the blender the next day with the remaining ingredients to give it that extra creaminess. I personally haven’t tried it with the cashew nuts yet because I have friends with nut allergies. If you have folks with food allergies just know that this is recipe is delicious even without the cashew addition.
Condensed and evaporated coconut milk make this recipe
This vegan coquito recipe includes every kind of coconut milk imaginable from sweetened condensed coconut milk (who knew this was a thing?), evaporated coconut milk, coconut milk, and unsweetened coconut cream. The recipe also calls for cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extra and white rum. With a recipe like this who would actually miss the dairy?
Try strawberry and almond coquito
There’s nothing traditional about this coquito but if you’re looking for a fun modern twist, this might just be the one. Instead of dairy, this recipe substitutes dairy with almond milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, and lactose-free yogurt.
This coquito has chia seeds, but don’t freak out
Don’t let the chia seeds turn you off. This is not a breakfast smoothie—it’s legit coquito and pretty sweet actually. In fact, unlike the other recipes, this one includes maple syrup, nutmeg, cloves, coconut extract, and coconut flakes. Sounds delicious to me!