Coquito: A Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Cocktail from The Essex


We asked The Essex for a recipe for a seasonal and innovative cocktail and Bar Manager and expert, John LaCross shared his vegan, gluten-free Coquito. It is a rum-based cocktail, nice and boozy and surprisingly creamy, made with or without Paw Paws.


2-14oz can condensed coconut milk

1-15oz can Coco Lopez

1-13.5oz can coconut milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon, Sri Lankan Ceylon cinnamon (Cassia will work as well, with a bit more aggressive flavor)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups Paw Paw pulp

1/4 cup raw sugar

  • Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan
  • Bring to a boil
  • Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes
  • Pour into 1/2 gallon container, add cinnamon stick and cool in the refrigerator

Add 3oz of mix with 2oz of Dark Rum

Stir without ice to retain the creamy texture and pour over ice. I like to garnish with a light dusting of fresh grated nutmeg.