Competition to find Orlando's best coquito starts next week


  • Photo via NPR

Dust off that coquito recipe you've been hiding in your closet.

The International Coquito Federation is holding a Coquito Masters competition Jan. 15 to find Orlando's best version of the Puerto Rican beverage that's similar to eggnog, says the organization's founder and president Debbie Quiñones. 

The Coquito Masters contest, which is pretty popular up north, started in Quiñones' living room. A family friend who made coquito for the New Yorker passed away without revealing her secret recipe. Quiñones invited her friends to her house for a party, with many bringing their own bottle of coquito. The competition to find the best coquito began and spread from her home to different places across the country. 

The "Coquito Contessa" says the competition gets fierce. One year, a woman asked her father for his secret coquito recipe that he kept locked in a safe under his bed. When he refused to give it to his her, his wife stole the recipe and gave it to their daughter. She added her own twist and ended up winning third place in the Coquito Masters competition, Quiñones says. 

"I say it's like searching for the unicorn in a cup," she says. "It's a way of honoring our ancestors and creates an opportunity for developing new informed coquito consumers. When you drink it, you're celebrating the success of a culture that's so undervalued on the culinary stage." 

The contest will be held at 5:30 p.m. next Friday at 1865 N. Econlockhatchee Trail. The entry fee to compete is $25, but admission to taste is free. For more information, email or visit the group's Facebook page

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