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ST CROIX — You know the holiday season in St. Croix is quickly approaching when you see bottles of this beloved beverage popping up for sale around the island. Known as Puerto Rican eggnog due to its origin from the island, coquito is a coconutbased alcoholic beverage praised for its smooth and creamy texture. The drink has the perfect combination of delicious ingredients — coconut, evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and of course, rum — Cruzan Rum, if we’re being specific! The island’s love of coquito shines brightly each year at Coquito Festival hosted by La Reine Chicken Shack in Estate La Reine.

In its 14th year, Coquito Festival is where St. Croix’s coquito makers go head-tohead to compete for the title of BEST coquito on the island! Each year, scores of competitors sign up for the festival, ranging from novice coquito makers to keepers of secret family recipes. Only one can be crowned the best, with the winner being awarded precious bragging rights for a year, plus the $500 cash grand prize. Second and third place winners will receive $300 and $200 cash prizes, respectively. The winner of the Best Bottle Presentation award will also receive a cash prize. Attendees of Coquito Festival have a lot to look forward to — live music from local and visiting entertainers, a visit from Santa Claus with gifts and pictures for the children, and endless samples of the beloved beverage for those who are 18 and older. You can stick to the original flavor or try new ones like pistachio, chocolate, gooseberry, guava berry, and peppermint. Whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed to find a flavor you like and one that you love. Attendees can also purchase a bottle of their favorite coquito at the festival to take home.

The 14th annual Coquito Festival takes place on Saturday, December 16th from 12pm until midnight. Entry is free for all and it is a family-friendly event. Visit La Reine Chicken Shack on Facebook for more information.

Written by Anquanette Gaspard