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Tobago, Trinidad

Friday Happy Hour: It’s Just not Christmas Without Ponche de Creme

Friday Happy Hour: It’s Just not Christmas Without Ponche de Creme
Ponche de Creme/SBPR 

It’s rare that Patrick and I are in the same place at the same time. This is especially true in the wintertime as he resides in bone-chillin’ Brooklyn, while I live in sunny South Florida. Rarer still are the winter occasions when Patrick and I are lucky enough to be in the same company as our Dad, who beats us both by making his home in Tobago.

So, it was a fairly momentous occurrence when the three of us got together in Brooklyn last month to celebrate the birth of Patrick’s son. The only thing that would’ve made it even more momentous would’ve been if our other brother, Peter, had made his way from his home in Philadelphia for the event, but that’s a story for another day…

Anyway, it was great catching up with Patrick and our Dad, meeting the newest UC correspondent, and of course, enjoying a few cocktails. With the Holiday Season fast-approaching, the drinking portion of our conversation soon turned to favorite Christmas drinks. No sooner was the subject broached than my Dad’s better-half chimed in with as bona fide a known truth as any known truth concerning Christmas in Trinidad & Tobago – “It’s just not Christmas without Ponche de Creme!”

Indeed, Ponche de Creme is the creme de la creme of Christmas cocktails in the land of Calypso and Carnival. There are lots of other drink options, but nothing brings the Holiday Cheer quite like this stuff.

As you can see in the photo above, Ponche de Creme is a lot like Egg Nog. The difference, as my Dad says, is that this Trini-Nog always has booze. It also always has a distinctive citrus flavor, courtesy of the lime peel used in making the stuff.

Ingredients:
  • 6 eggs
  • Peel of 1 lime
  • 3 cans of low fat evaporated milk (15 oz)
  • 1-1/2 cans condensed milk or to taste (14 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon aromatic bitters
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of rum (or more)

In talking to my Dad about Ponche de Creme again earlier today, I noted a childlike excitement in his voice as he recounted his tradition of taking the first sip on Christmas Eve, and continuing to sip each night as the Holidays wore on. “It’s usually gone right about Three King’s Day,” he said wistfully. He also mentioned that Ponche de Creme is great with a slice of Black Cake, something we’ll have to try to get into next week.

Here’s a recipe from our favorite cookbook that you can use to bring the truest taste of a Trini Christmas to your home…

Directions:
Beat eggs and lime peel until light and fluffy. Add evaporated milk. Sweeten to taste with condensed milk. Add bitters, grated nutmeg and rum according to taste. Remove lime peel and serve.

Ponche de Creme is served cold, usually with crushed or cracked ice, though on regular rocks is fine too. Dad likes to make his without the nutmeg, preferring instead to sprinkle it on top with each serving.

Either way, sip it slowly throughout the Holiday Season and you’ll always be in good cheer!

Merry Christmas!

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