Growing up in the British West Indies (Caribbean) in St. Vincent, Bequia, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, I experienced Christmas very differently than the way it is in Central New Jersey1. In the islands I lived in, Christmas trees were always artificial (including face snow! ) and people tended to visit family and friends for drinks and merriment. It was a time for Church, to be specific Catholic Church. Other than that, Christmas day was just like any other festive2 day in the West Indies — breezy and sunny with the possibility of rum.
Bhavna and her family enjoy3 the festive nature of Christmas and this year we are getting together at her sister’s home. My niece, Maya, is the party planner and the dress code is pyjamas. We’ve all got the day off anyway so why not? My nephew’s birthday — Rohan — is the 23rd and my father-in-law’s birthday is the 27th so there are other reasons to get together.
Bhavna asked me about West Indian Christmas food and all I could think of was a clove ham and Punch de Creme4. LOL!
I’m not a big drinker. I enjoy a beer or two during the week and will occasionally drink a cocktail. However, her question got me thinking about what I might contribute culturally. I looked the web for Punch de Creme recipes but they all seemed too involved. I wanted a recipe that would allow me to create single-serving quickly and with just a few ingredients. I found a West Indian Eggnog recipe that I think does the trick.
I tweaked the original recipe a bit. Ron Zacapa rum is too fine to use a mixer so I used something cheaper. I picked up some Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Planat Cognac VS from Steele’s Wine Cellar. I didn’t have access to sugar cane syrup but Shoprite has Liquid Sugar in the Raw. I also changed the units of measure to metric. This is the 21st century.
I thoroughly enjoyed the result. The drink was not cloyingly sweet and the rum and cognac were nicely balanced. The eggnog was not as “spiced” as I had hoped. Perhaps I need to create my own spice mixture. Enjoy.
West Indian Eggnog
A wonderful way to bring some West Indian spirit to the winter holidays.
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend for 15 seconds.
- Add ice, and blend again for 5 seconds.
- Pour into your favourite mug.
- Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.
- Drink and be merry.
- I won’t characterize all of New Jersey or the USA as being the same. Regional cultural differences can be found between the northern and southern end of the state. ↩
- a festive mood: jolly, merry, joyous, joyful, happy, jovial, lighthearted, cheerful, jubilant, convivial, high-spirited, mirthful, uproarious; celebratory, holiday, carnival; Christmassy; archaic festal. ↩
- They are Hindus. ↩
- Punch de Creme is the Trinidad and Tobago version of eggnog. ↩