Traditional Latinx Holiday Cocktails You’ve Been Wanting to Make All Year

Having spent most of the year in quarantine means we’re all looking for fun activities to do indoors especially with all the extra free time we’ve been given thanks to ‘Rona

Photo: Pexels

Photo: Pexels

Having spent most of the year in quarantine means we’re all looking for fun activities to do indoors especially with all the extra free time we’ve been given thanks to ‘Rona. Probably one of the Christmastime traditions we need right about now is a stiff holiday cocktail, especially those from the motherland.

In Latin America, you will see several versions of cozy eggnog, delicious punches, drinks spiced to perfection, and plenty of options both hot and cold. If you haven’t already, you’ve probably been wanting to learn how to make classics like coquito, ponche Navideño, and canelazo and discover what holiday drinks are part of the year-end celebrations throughout LATAM. To get you excited for the holiday season, even in 2020, we are sharing several Latino holiday cocktail recipes you can start making right now.


Coquito is the creamy, cozy beverage that gets made for celebrations in Puerto Rican culture. It is another Latinx cocktail that features rum, but gets even sweeter with ingredients such as condensed milk, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. The Food Network coquito recipe includes rum but feel free to leave it out.


One 15-ounce can cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

One 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage

1/2 cup white rum

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for serving

Cinnamon sticks, for serving


  1. Put the cream of coconut, condensed milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk beverage, rum, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a blender and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, about 1 hour.
  2. Give the coquito a good stir (the mixture may separate slightly as it sits). Pour into individual mugs or glasses, top with more nutmeg and serve with a cinnamon stick.”

you can also try this vegan version shown here:



Photo: Laylita’s Recipes

A Naranjilla is a drink native to the South American nation of Ecuador and very similar to another Ecuadorian cocktail, the canelazo. It is known as a spiced hot cocktail, great for getting and staying cozy at home with a blanket and plenty of TV to watch. Laylita’s Recipes shows us how to make a Naranjilla with this easy how-to (she also shares the recipe for a canelazo).


  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of naranjilla concentrate previously frozen
  • 1 ¼ cup of sugar or grated panela
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • Aguardiente to taste

Aguardiente guidelines – adjust based on you preference (or the weather)

  • For a light canelazo add 1 oz of aguardiente to each glass of canelazo.
  • For a medium-strong canelazo add 1.5 oz of aguardiente to each glass of canelazo.
  • For a strong canelazo add 2 oz of aguardiente to each glass of canelazo.


  • Combine all the ingredients, except for the aguardiente, in a medium sized pot.
    Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. To make the fast or cheater version you can simply boil it for 10-15 minutes.
    Mix in the aguardiente and serve immediately.”


    Ananá Fizz

    You don’t have to lose the delicious tropical flavors once summer is over. In Argentina, one of their Christmas drinks, ananá fizz, features refreshing pineapple as its fruit of choice, along with cider, champagne, or sparkling wine. Solo Postres shows us one of the many ways to make this beverage.

    “Quantity: 3 liters


    1 ripe pineapple (pineapple, abacaxí)
    2 bottles of dry white sparkling wine
    1 cup of sugar
    Crushed ice

    Peel the pineapple, remove the white part from the center and chop its pulp.
    Put it in a glass or crockery bowl and pour the sugar over it.
    Pour a bottle of sparkling wine.

    Cover the container with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator until the next day.

    The next day it is put in the glass of the blender and liquefied.
    Strain and add the other bottle of sparkling wine. It is taken to the refrigerator packed in tightly closed bottles.
    At the moment of serving it, it is placed in jars with crushed ice.”



    Our next Christmas cocktail takes us to another South American nation–Colombia. There, an eggnog-like drink is also made during the holidays but includes aguardiente, its national drink, as its source of alcohol. At My Colombian Recipes, where we sourced this recipe for sabajon, rum, also much-loved in Colombia, is used, but you can choose whichever alcohol you prefer.


    (10 to 12 servings)

    • 6 cups of whole milk
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons corn starch
    • 1 can sweet condensed milk
    • Rum to your taste, I use about 1 cup of rum for mine and my mom uses about 2 cups for hers.
    • Ground cinnamon


      1. Place 5 cups of the milk with the sugar and vanilla in a pot and bring to a boil, cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
      2. Place the rest of the milk, egg yolks, corn starch and the condensed milk in a blender. Blend until well combined.
      3. Add the egg yolk mixture slowly to the milk and stir well. Continue over low heat and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
      4. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Strain the mixture through a sieve and pour into a serving pitcher.
      5. Cool down completely and stir in the rum or aguardiente. Add more milk if necessary.
      6. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve the eggnog in glasses, sprinkle with ground cinnamon.”


    Cola de Mono

    It’s fun to check out how many different Latin American countries do their own version of eggnog. In Chile, ITV Patagonia shared a recipe that includes coffee, rum essence, and monkey tail essence. According to Very Best Baking, you can add one cup of Chilean aguardiente, white rum, brandy, or vodka for some holiday oomph.


    -1 cup of water

    -4 Cloves

    -1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

    -2 whole cinnamon sticks

    -2 tablespoons of coffee (with or without caffeine or barley)

    -1 can of condensed milk

    -2 liter of milk

    -1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

    -2 tablespoons of rum essence

    -3 tablespoons of monkey tail essence (Optional)


    1.-In a small pot, boil the water for 10 minutes together with the Whole Cloves, the Ground Nutmeg, the Vanilla Essence and the Whole Cinnamon.

    2.-Then strain and pour this liquid into a larger pot or container.

    3.-Dissolve the coffee. Continue cooking over low heat and add the condensed milk, ensuring that it dissolves completely.

    4.-Pour the milk little by little and stir with a spoon, then wait for a first boil and turn off the heat.

    5.-Then add the ingredients and mix well.

    6.-Store the mixture in the refrigerator (duration 7 days). Serve well chilled.”


    Ponche Navideño

    If you want something a little different and more on the fruity side, then a yummy ponche Navideño is a perfect option. The Mexican drink features seasonal fruits such as apples, oranges, and tejocotes (Mexican hawthorns similar to crabapples). Like most, if not all Latinx holiday beverages, you can choose whether or not you want to include alcohol. This quick and easy recipe by Mexico in My Kitchen shows us how to make some ponche Navideño.


    • 4 quarts of water 1 gallon
    • 1 large piloncillo cone (or 12 oz. of brown sugar)
    • 3 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 lb Tejocotes*
    •  Lb. guavas about 12 guavas
    • ¾ cup prunes chopped
    •  cup apples chopped
    • 1 cup pear chopped
    • ½ cup raisins
    • 3 sugar cane sticks, about 5-in. long cut into four pieces each
    • 1 cup of Tamarind pods peeled (or 1 cup of Hibiscus Flowers)***
    • Rum to taste


    • Place water in a large stockpot.
      Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh Tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon, since they take longer to soften. Ponche Navideno
      Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes along with the rest of the ingredients like the sugar cane sticks, tamarind pods or hibiscus flowers. If you are using the canned version of the tejocotes, then add them in this step.
      Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling in some of the fruit and adding rum to your liking.


      * If you do not find all the ingredients like the tejocotes, you can still make this drink without them.

      ** Other dried fruits can be used as a substitute.

      *** Sometimes I just add the tamarind pods and other times just the Hibiscus flowers. I rarely use the 2 in the same punch and it still comes out really tasty.”



      Why choose between an alcoholic beverage or a sweet dessert when you don’t have to during the holidays? Rompope is another example of a rich, eggnog-like cocktail that welcomes the holidays with a sugary, boozy buzz. The Spruce Eats shows us just how to make this traditional Mexican drink.


      Steps to Make It

      1. Process the almonds into a paste in a food processor.

        Simmer the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick in a heavy-bottom saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the milk heats through but does not boil. Remove it from the stove and let it stand for 30 minutes.

        Whisk the almond paste into the milk mixture.

        Beat the egg yolks until creamy, then slowly add the milk mixture, stirring continuously until you incorporate it all.

        Return the pan to the stove and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes.

        Allow the rompope to cool completely.

        Add the rum and stir before serving.

        Raw Egg Warning

        Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness”


        Crema de Vie

        Crema de vie translates to “cream of life,” and life is what you’re going to get with this rich, sweet, and tasty Cuban holiday drink. Think ingredients like thick condensed milk, a touch of vanilla, of course, a pinch of holiday-perfect cinnamon and nutmeg, and a good dose of rum. It’s Cuba’s answer to a Christmas eggnog in the U.S. We like this easy-to-follow recipe for crema de vie from Cooking in Cuban.


        1. 1 can condensed milk
        2. 1 can evaporated milk
        3. 6 egg yolks
        4. 2 cups sugar
        5. 1 cup water
        6. 1 tsp vanilla
        7. Rum – regular or spiced, at least half a cup – any less isn’t worth it!
        Make a syrup
        1. Heat water and sugar in a pot until the sugar has dissolved and the water is clear.
        Prepare the nog
        1. In a blender, mix the two cans of milk, egg yolks and vanilla until thoroughly mixed.
        2. When the syrup is ready, pour the egg mix into the pot and stir continuously over med-low heat.
        3. After a minute, pour in the rum – as much as you want – the more the better, and remove from heat.
        4. When the nog has cooled down, transfer to an empty bottle and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
        5. I always sprinkle just a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg into mine for an extra flavor kick.”



        Ecuador’s canelazo is very similar to its naranjillazo, which we wrote about earlier. Instead of the naranjilla fruit, the focus is on (and the name inspired by) cinnamon. Let’s look at Laylita’s Recipes’ instructions on how to make this cozy cocktail.


        • 6 cups of water
        • 8 cinnamon sticks
        • 1 cup of sugar or grated panela
        • Aguardiente to taste

        Aguardiente guidelines – adjust based on you preference (or the weather)

        • For a light canelazo add 1 oz of aguardiente to each glass of canelazo.
        • For a medium-strong canelazo add 1.5 oz of aguardiente to each glass of canelazo.
        • For a strong canelazo add 2 oz of aguardiente to each glass of canelazo.