12th Annual International Coquito Masters at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Punch up! Borough Hall hosts coquito-making contest

The Brooklyn Paper
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The taste of this victory was sweet — and boozy!

Hundreds of tasters from across the boroughs gathered inside Borough Hall on Friday night to sip coquito — an eggnog-esque Puerto Rican holiday drink — and crown the tastiest cup in the entire city. The reigning queen said she was pleased as punch when her brew came out on top.

“I got so emotional,” said Bronx resident Rosemary Colon, who got a huge trophy and a hug from Borough President Adams as she was named winner of the 12th annual Coquito Masters competition. “Tears came out, I’m so happy.”

Colon learned the craft of great coquito — traditionally made with rum, coconut milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg — from watching her mother and grandmother, and has been stirring up her own special concoction for two years.

But she never thought her homemade mix would hold up in a panel until she entered one of the competition’s seven qualifying rounds on a whim and won — and found herself up against the other winners in the Borough Hall rotunda.

The qualifying rounds kicked off on Nov. 6 and spanned the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Kings County hosted the final showdown for the first time this year.

Many of the ingredients stay a classic constant for coquito makers, but some of the masters threw in their own secret ingredients. Colon wouldn’t share her special recipe, but was willing to dish on her process — you have to make it with love and accompanied by Puerto Rican music, she said.

“That really helps me and gives me the spirit to do it even better,” she said.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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