It was Christmas of 2016 when Noelia and Abe, my dear friends hailing from the vibrant heart of Puerto Rico, gifted me a 64-oz. mason jar of coquito, lovingly adorned with a scarlet bow. Coquito literally translates to “little coconut” in Spanish and is traditionally made from coconut (both the meat and its milk and cream), sweetened condensed milk, a touch of rum, and a symphony of aromatic spices. My upbringing, steeped in the Seventh-day Adventist tradition, never held holidays in the spotlight. For my parents, every day was a celebration, and festive occasions took a back seat. Therefore, to bloom with my own traditions—dietary restrictions included, read more on that here—coquito would undergo a metamorphosis in my hands. A medley of warm spices inspired by my Jamaican heritage, paired with the iconic Wray & Nephew rum, results in this dairy-free rendition that’s velvety and satisfying. My take on this classic drink also uses brewed chai for a blend of woodsy, earthy spices. Coconut milk and cream of coconut contribute a glossy viscosity, while evaporated and sweetened condensed oat milks balance the richness from the coconut and keep the drink silky.