Revision: I forgot to tell you guys, that once it is done you can add nutmeg or cinnamon when you serve it.
I can honestly say that in my house, we never had Creme de Vie. Mami never made it; neither did Abuela. Strange for a Cuban exile household if you ask me.
In Puerto Rico it seems many Cubans were taken with Coquito (similar to Creme de Vie, but add some coconut milk). Both are very sweet; Creme de Vie a bit more and it also has a hint of vanilla. Of course, they are both spiked with Rum. Hey, we are Latin after all!
So this year I’m doing two things. First I’m sharing with all of you my recipe for Coquito and Marta’s recipe for Creme de Vie. Second, I will make a batch of each and have a neutral party – Alan of course – taste them both and see which he likes best.
If you don’t like coconut it goes without saying that Coquito is not for you, though the Coco in Coquito is really subtle. For those of you with no clue of what I’m talking about Coquito is Puerto Rican Egg Nog and Creme de Vie is Cuban Egg Nog.
- 2 cans of condensed milk
- 2 cans of evaporated milk
- 2 cans of coconut milk (NOT Coco Lopez)
- 6 egg yolks.
- You will also need about 1 cup of white rum. I recommend you pour in 3/4 cup first and taste, and then add more as you see necessary.
Note: I personally use Don Q Cristal for two reasons over Bacardi – first, it is more bitter. Second, it has a stronger kick than Bacardi, so it allows the Coquito to be spiked and thick at the same time. If you use Bacardi, you’ll have to put in more rum to taste the “spike” and this will in turn make the Coquito more runny.
Whichever you prefer, make sure you mix very well. I have not met an Osterizer with that capacity, so I usually use the cake mixer and a Pyrex bowl. Once you are done you store them in clean wine bottles (personally, I use Kahlua bottles) or any other bottle you like (you can buy some of those they sell at Michael’s too!).
The tradition is you give a bottle to friends and neighbors, so decorating the bottle is almost a requirement. And like the rum, that is up to you. I find that it’s best to make the Coquito for personal use on the day you plan to decorate the tree; between the sugar and the rum – and the Parranda/Trulla music in the background – you stay up and decorating becomes a lot of fun!
So, which one do you like best?