Two years is a long time to wait for anything, much less a drink… or a trip to Belize. It’s been almost exactly that long, though, since I first embarked on mixing up a batch of Belizean eggnog, a frothy blend of Holiday hard stuff better known as Rum Popo.
Okay, I didn’t exactly begin making this stuff two years ago, but I did start to gather the necessary ingredients back then, chief among them a bottle of 1 Barrel Rum.
Long time UC readers may remember that I’m not a big fan of 1 Barrel on its own, so I was definitely hoping it’d sing in its home country’s traditional Christmas cocktail. I was also hoping that I would’ve made my first visit to Belize long before actually getting down to making my first batch of Rum Popo, the better to get a sense for the type of local secrets and techniques that can make all the difference in achieving a truly special drink.
Sadly, though, Belize remains on my to-visit list, a fact that presents a convenient excuse for the state of my Rum Popo.
It’s not that it’s bad, mind you (though it is very light in the rum department), or something went wrong in the preparation.
I followed an easy recipe. I soaked my raisins and cinnamon sticks in1 Barrel for two days. I mixed the various canned milks exactly as directed. I added the right amount of seasoning. I added sugar. I made a huge mess. I filled four empty rum bottles with my concoction.
The resulting drink… in a word… is just “okay.”
It just seems to be missing something – some extra spice, sweetness, or dose of Belizean magic the likes of which one can only know of through first-hand experience…
I’m not giving up, of course. I plan to give Rum Popo another shot next Christmas. Only by then I expect to have learned what it takes to make it great right from the source.
Cheers + Merry Christmas!