Category Archives: Drinks

Warm Up Your Christmas with a little Coquito!

Coquito - Puerto Rican eggnog - is a tradition at Christmas time!

Coquito – Puerto Rican eggnog – is a tradition at Christmas time!

Coquito…it’s a cool word to say, isn’t it?  Well, it’s even better in a glass over ice!

Coquito [koh-kee-toh] – is Puerto Rican eggnog and it’s delicious!  It’s made with rum, coconut milk, sweet condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Some people add eggs and others don’t – it’s a personal preference here.  You’ll find coquito being served and enjoyed around Christmas each year.  It’s in high demand!

There are a number of recipes you can find online but I must confess, I’ve never tried to make coquito.  I lived in Puerto Rico from ages 7-12, so I was a bit young for this drink!  But I did know about it’s popularity.  I had some at a friend’s pig roast several years ago and was hooked.  Still, I didn’t try to make my own.  Then recently, I found out that a friend of mine, Luis Delgado, was making coquito and selling it by the bottle!  I got to know Luis several years ago when his restaurant – Miami Cafe – was a food vendor at Fiesta, the Hispanic and cultural event I have worked with for the past 13 years.   Miami Cafe in Alabaster served up everything from Cuban sandwiches to chicken wings with a Carribean flair.  His food was wonderful and I enjoyed eating at his little place the few times I was able to go.  Luis’ love of cooking comes from his grandmother as a little boy growing up in Puerto Rico.  He was always asking her questions about how to make different recipes and she gladly shared everything with her grandson.  He carried this love of cooking to Miami before eventually moving to Birmingham.  At the urging of friends who loved his food, he opened Miami Cafe.  Since his restaurant closed, he is now catering.  I attended an event at Birmingham International Center (BIC) a few months ago about doing business in Cuba and as I glanced at the food, I knew immediately it was Luis’ cuisine!

Back to the Coquito…I tried Luis’ coquito just last night and OMGEEEEE!!!!!  Believe me when I tell you that it’s to die for!  I poured it in a bigger glass than normal – you usually use a shot glass – so that I could share it with my husband.  I took one long sip and swooned, it was so good!  Then I handed the glass over to my husband.  After one sip he wouldn’t give it back to me!  So much for sharing!

If you are in the Birmingham area and you are interested in buying a bottle of this deliciousness, contact Luis Delgado on Facebook and place your order and let him know you read about it on Southern Senora blog.  Coquito is $35 a bottle and well worth it to enjoy with your family.  Of course, after one glass you might not WANT to share!

A glass of coquito garnished with two cinnamon sticks! Best served over ice and sipped in front of a Christmas tree!

A glass of coquito garnished with two cinnamon sticks! Best served over ice and sipped in front of a Christmas tree!

Sparkling Sangria on the 4th of July!

All the ingredients gathered in the Boondocks Gang kitchen and ready to go!

All the ingredients gathered in the Boondocks Gang kitchen and ready to go!

Several times a year, my husband and I get together with a long-time group of friends.  We call ourselves “The Boondocks Gang.”  This name came about many years ago when we were having dinner at a little place in Guntersville called Boondocks.  We thought we needed a name and that just seemed perfect for us.

This year we decided to gather for the Fourth of July.  We always have a theme – of course, this year’s theme was a no-brainer!  We had plenty of patriotic hats and red, white and blue USA beads.  Sometimes we even have a signature cocktail thanks to my sweet friend Karen, who loves throwing things together and creating the perfect drink.

I had tried a fabulous white wine sangria at Melt Restaurant in Avondale a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since.  So, I suggested we make a sparkling sangria for our signature drink this time.  We (the girls) had just spent our usual first full day at the lake making our thrift store jaunt…funny how we’ve gotten into a certain routine with our trips!  Always fun…we love looking for bargains and then coming back to the lake house and recalling our day over wine or other cocktails.  This time we couldn’t wait to get started and got right into sangria making!  I almost couldn’t get everyone to slow down enough to take the preparation photos!

A pretty shot of the oranges - waiting to be squeezed into the mixture.

A pretty shot of the oranges – waiting to be squeezed into the mixture.

Before I get into the recipe we used, I thought I would add a quick little history of Sangria.  I was surprised to read that sangria was first introduced to the United States at the World Fair in 1964!  Sangria has its roots in Spain.  It is traditionally red but can also be made with white wine or “cava” which is the Spanish version of sparkling wine.  There is also an interesting post called “Blood, Wine and War: The History of Sangria” that talks about when the Romans conquered Spain and were the first to plant the vineyards that produced the red varietal grapes that make the best wine.  They called the drink Sangria which meant “blood” because of its red color.  (The Spanish word for blood is “sangre.” ) The SangriaSecrets.com website also has some interesting recipes I may try too!  Their Cranberry-Orange sangria sounds interesting…

Now back to present day…

Karen remembered a recipe from Columbia Restaurant and quickly looked it up on her phone.  Honestly, what did we ever do without Google and our smart phones?  We started with a full bottle of Cupcake Prosecco.  Next we added Brandy, Grand Marnier and Rose’s Lemon Juice.  Freshly squeezed oranges and a can of Sprite (lemon-lime soda) followed.  Oh, and Karen never measured a thing…she’s just that good!  We cut up limes, more oranges and added a maraschino cherry to each glass.  Finally, we added ice to the pitcher and began pouring.  I have to say the glasses looked beautiful!  We all grabbed our glasses, gathered in front of the fireplace while my husband took several pictures of us posing with our sparkling 4th of July cocktails.

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I thought this would be a girls only drink but the guys were watching us make this refreshing beverage and wanted some too!  So, on to making pitcher #2!  Sorry, no picture of the guys drinking this fruity drink.  They wouldn’t pose…

SALUD!

Cheers from the Boondocks Gang ladies!

Cheers from the Boondocks Gang ladies!

 

One of our outtakes!

One of our outtakes!

Salud!...from me and Karen!

Salud!…from me and Karen!