Bronx's Port Morris Distillery keeps Puerto Rican tradition alive highlighting coquito holiday drink
The holiday season means coquito season! At this time of year, New Yorkers across all five boroughs make coquito, a drink known as the “Puerto Rican eggnog.”
Port Morris Distillery in the Bronx has been bringing the tradition from the island to the Big Apple for 11 years.
Coquito is a beloved holiday drink with roots from the Puerto Rico. The story goes that the first coquito was made with pitorro, and one of the only places to get it is in New York City at Port Morris Distillery.
“You’re not making coquito if it’s not made with pitorro," says William Valentin, co-owner of the bar.
Pitorro is a Puerto Rican moonshine that’s the base for their coquito. Partygoers can infuse it fruits or buy one of the distillery's ready-made flavors such as coconut.
During the holidays, it’s the coquito that’s in high demand at Port Morris where they put their own twist on the drink.
“It gives you the same taste, smell, feeling of your traditional coquito, but it's made with non-dairy. So, it's a non-dairy coquito with natural flavors. Then we have our 151 for people who want to do their traditional coquito, which is made with carnation milk, condensed milk, coconut milk, some nutmeg and cinnamon then topped it off with 151," says Valentin.
The co-owners of Port Morris, Rafael and William, are longtime New Yorkers who make their coquito in house. The process takes 17 days and was passed down from Rafael's uncle in Puerto Rico.
The co-owners say Port Morris has become a home away from home for Puerto Ricans in New York City, and it allows them to keep their history alive for the next generation.