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Music center hosts coquito competition to aid hurricane relief efforts

What’s the secret to a great Coquito?

PIX11 went to the Bronx Coquito Masters competition to find out.

“The secret to a great coquito is Love,” said Debbie Quinones, organizer of Coquito Masters competition in the Bronx. “Then you add coconut, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream of coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg.”

At the Bronx Music Heritage Center, they gathered to celebrate their Puerto Rican roots and to help in the relief efforts for those struggling after the hurricane.

First, those attending heard the music of Los Pleneros of the South Bronx, storytelling through music passed down from generation to generation. Then the blind taste test labeling coquito A through F.  Participants sniffed, swirled the coquito in and around in the cup and tasted it.

“I go by the smell,” Jeffrey Flowers told PIX11. “And then the taste. It can’t be too milky. It had to have the right thickness. That’s how I choose which one I like the best."

“It has a have the perfect blend of spice, coconut and rum,” Amirah Brown told PIX11.

While the judges were tabulating the results, officials from the Bronx Music Heritage Center made a plea to help musicians in Puerto Rico, suffering through the aftermath of the hurricanes.

“Whether it’s Medical bill’s or instruments that are broken we want to help these musicians,” Elena Martinez, co-artistic director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center.

And the winner is Aida Quinones, the first on the coquito tasting line, letter A.

From here, the winner Aida Quinones goes to the New York State Coquito championship December 16.