Cremas, coconut Holiday drink
As I commit these words to paper at 7:00 in the morning, I can’t help but think of the fact that I am vicariously consuming alcohol at 7:00 in the morning.
But you know what, it is the Holiday season, the season to be jolly, so there is no avoiding this favorite Haitian Holiday drink that symbolizes the most wonderful time of the year.
A rich and creamy coconut beverage enhanced with sweet spices, cremas is the drink they let you sip on as a kid; the drink you were actually allowed to sample in your own glass – it was probably a fourth of a shot glass but still, it was a glass you were allowed to hold in your hands for a change.
There is no Christmas in Haiti, or at least at my house, without a bottle of cremas, even when we may not drink it all. Growing up, my parents would always bring a bottle home around this time of the year. It was almost always homemade by a colleague or an acquaintance. We thus never really prepared our own bottle until a couple of years ago when we came to realize that fewer and fewer people were preparing it with coconut.
Unfortunately, today, this Holiday favorite has become just a creamy flavored drink for many. Various cremas flavors are now available on the market these days, to such a point that some don’t even know it should taste like coconut.
It surprises me each time people give me a puzzled look as I tell them that cremas should have so much coconut that it thickens overtime and can even clog the bottle. That is the cremas I grew up with, the coconut milk flavored beverage my parents used to bring home, and the one, which recipe I share below.
At the risk of repeating myself, I will say it again. The authentic cremas I know of is made with coconut. So next time you are handed a bottle of cremas, check its thickness. If it nearly clogs the bottle, then you got your hands on some authentic Haitian cremas.
The recipe below is quick and simple as it uses store bought items. It calls for canned coconut milk instead of requiring it to be extracted from freshly grated coconut.
Though I am sharing the recipe as is, please note that this year I made a slight change. Instead of using coconut milk, I tried a coconut cream, and since it was already sweet, I omitted one cup of sweet condensed milk.
Oh yes, finally a recipe with proportions!
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 cup of evaporated milk
- 2 cups of sweet condensed milk
- 1 cup of white rum
- Nutmeg (to taste)
- Mix all the ingredients and add some nutmeg to taste
- Keep in a glass bottle for a couple of days to allow the flavors to develop making sure to shake the bottle from time to time to avoid the coconut deposit which might clog the bottle
- Serve as is at room temperature.