The Flavors of A Caribbean Christmas

The holiday season is here and one of the best ways to enjoy the BIG DAY is to tune in to my annual Christmas Day radio show, the 13th Annual, entitled “Island Riddims”, on CKUT 90.3FM from 9am to 3pm with pure Parang/Soca vibes.
A Montreal winter can be challenging for everyone: the cold temperatures, snow, frost and ice, yet many are looking forward to enjoying our Caribbean Christmas traditions, such as parang gatherings, food, drinks and all of the Christmas vibes.
In the last issue we wrote about Parang music and the event call Parang Jam.
Now I want to share with you the recipe of my favourite drink for the season: Ponche de Crème, a slightly alcoholic drink highly-favoured by myself and others who enjoy nice Caribbean specialties at this time of the year.
(For those who are curious about this popular Caribbean Christmas drink, I will give you the recipe and hope you enjoy.)
I know there are many questions why Caribbean culture, especially at Christmastime involves so much drinking…
I think it’s because sugar was the foundation of the Golden Age in the West Indies in the 18th century. And rum is a by-product of sugar.
And so many recipes, food and recreational events, involve a ‘little liquor’ as it is sometimes called.
Here’s a short list of some Caribbean Christmas favorites that include rum:
Rum PoPo, Plum pudding with rum, Black fruitcake, Ponche de crème Punch a crema).
Other traditional Christmas drinks include sorrel, a drink made from the petals of the sorrel plant; local black wine; and Carib or ginger beer.
Pork is a popular choice for Christmas meals, as is oxtail, turkey, and curried goat. Meat-filled pastries called Pastelles hail from Trinidad, using cornmeal and wrapped in banana leaves.
Pepperpot, a Guyanese dish that has spread throughout the Caribbean, is seasoned with cassava root sauce and is popular on Boxing Day.
Matrimony, a Jamaican dessert that’s available only around Christmas- time. It’s made from purple star apples, which ripen in the winter.

Ponche de Crème Recipe
6 eggs
4 cups evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened (condensed)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups golden rum, ½
teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon minced lime zest
1 teaspoon aromatic bitters
(Angostura aromatic bitters really enhances the taste of Ponche de Creme with just a few drops added when preparing the Ponche de Creme or at serving. (There is a secret ingredient that goes into Angostura Aromatic Bitters that makes it taste so good and competitive.) You can get it at any Montreal West Indian store such as: TNT Palace, Curry House, Epicerie Shavit, Punjab and elsewhere).
Method of Preparation: In a medium stainless steel bowl beat eggs with sugar. Place into a double boiler, and over simmering water cook eggs until thickened and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Add condensed milk, evaporated milk and rum; combine well. Stir in lime zest, aromatic bitters and nutmeg. Cool and pour into glass bottles and keep refrigerated until ready for use. Serve over crushed ice garnished with lime zest or lime slices.
Makes about 10, 8 (fl. oz).

Island Facts:
Dec. 19th 2005 – Onika Bostic, known for solo hits and as the lead singer of Burning Flames, died from injuries sustained in an accident on Dec. 11th 2005
Dec 29th 1982 – Bob Marley postage stamp issued in Jamaica. First ever stamp issued to a Rastafarian in Jamaica.

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Please enjoy… And Season’s Greetings!