Traditional Trini Christmas Beverage Recipes 0 2471


Ponche de Crème

Similar to eggnog, which is a combination of milk and eggs, ponche de crème is a rich and creamy alcohol beverage enjoyed all year round and is a staple to many at Christmas time in Trinidad & Tobago and throughout the Caribbean. Within recent years sole traders and caterers have put their artisanal spin on old family recipes to bottle, distribute and sell nationwide!

This smooth and sweet milk-based cocktail contains rum, aromatic bitters, lime rind and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The rum chemically cooks and preserves the drink which can last for as long as a full year and more when stored in glass bottles and kept refrigerated. For those who have never gotten around to making their own ponche de crème, the following is a simple yet delicious recipe to try:


  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tins of Carnation condensed milk
  • 2 tins of Carnation evaporated milk
  • 1 26oz bottle of White Oak rum
  • 1 tablespoon Angostura aromatic bitters
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Lime peel (avoid the white pith)


  • Separate the egg yolk from the whites. Add the peel to the egg whites and beat until stiff
  • In a separate bowl beat the yolks and then add it to the egg white mixture
  • Mix the condensed milk into the eggs one tin at and followed by the condensed milk, one tin at a time then add in the white rum, bitters, nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Finally, remove the peel and serve with lots of crushed ice. Store in clean, sterilized glass bottles


  • For eggless ponche de crème substitute 6 eggs for 1½ cups of pureed steamed pumpkin
  • Adding the lime peel when beating the egg whites helps cut the freshness of the raw egg



During Christmas and the New Year, sorrel is a favourite drink among the young and old and usually two batches are prepared, with one being spiked for the adults. Like many popular plants grown in the Caribbean region, sorrel has its origins in West Africa and is also known as Roselle, or less widely recognised, by its scientific name ‘Hibiscus sabdariffa’. Sorrel is a species of the Hibiscus family and should not be confused with the vegetable of the same name from temperate countries. There are different types of sorrel grown in the region. However, the deep red fruit of the Roselle which bears annually is the most common variety found in the Caribbean.



The sorrel drink is fairly nutritional, rich in vitamins A & C, magnesium, calcium and potassium and is said to be effective in treating hypertension and allergies. The juice is drawn by steeping the outer skin (sepals) of the fresh or dried red fruit in hot water and produces a rich, red liquid. There is no set formula in making sorrel, you just adjust with less or more water and sugar to suit your palate. The potency in sorrel allows its taste to get better the longer it is allowed to age.


  • 2 lbs fresh sorrel
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 cups sugar or simple syrup (see recipe and method below)
  • 2 teaspoons of Angostura aromatic bitters


  • Wash sorrel thoroughly to remove all remnants of dried leaves, bugs and dirt
  • In a non-reactive pot bring the water to a boil. Add the sorrel, cinnamon sticks and clove. Cover and boil for 5 minutes
  • Remove pot from heat and keeping it covered leave it overnight to steep
  • Strain the mixture into a glass jar, add the bitters and mix in the sugar until fully dissolved
  • Store in clean, sterilised glass bottles and serve with ice


  • Contrary to the belief of many, it is not necessary to remove the seeds from the sorrel. Skipping this step won’t alter the taste and will save on the time spent to make it
  • If using dried sorrel, replace 2 lbs of fresh sorrel for 2 cups of dried sorrel
  • Try lining a sieve with cheesecloth before straining the mixture, this helps to catch tiny particles and impurities in the mixture
  • For a thicker consistency and to make sure the sugar is fully incorporated you can sweeten by using a simple syrup (bring to a boil 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of sugar, stirring until the sugar has fully dissolved)
  • The sorrel mixture is highly pigmented and therefore stains, so storing in glass over plastic is recommended

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