09 November, 2014

Tastes Like...Rompope

Rompope is a drink classically enjoyed during Christmas.  Many call it Mexican Eggnog, but not to the face of a Mexican of course.  Although similar in some ways it is so drastically different in flavor, texture, presentation, preparation...I could go on and on...that it seems wrong to say it is even LIKE eggnog.

Yes it is thick and creamy and spiced with familiar Christmas-y spices.  But the way that you prepare and serve is completely different.  Most Mexicans think that Eggnog is gross (could be that they call it Egg Punch... not the best start for our favorite holiday beverage) and the fact that us Gringos add vanilla is considered out right criminal!  Additionally Rompope is an alcoholic beverage.  Eggnog can also be, yes, I know... but the stuff that you buy in the stores is not.  Rompope you purchase in the spirits section not the milk section of the store.

So what does it taste like... Other than Christmas? Rompope is Milk that is slowly steeped with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove.  It has a nice spicy flavor of Mexican Cinnamon with the back up from Clove and Nutmeg.  Egg yolks are then added to give it the creamy texture and to thicken it.  But it is not remotely as thick as eggnog.  Alcohol when you are making Rompope at home, varies by taste.  Although classic choices are Cane Alcohol, Rum, Brandy or Whiskey.  We like barrel aged alcohol as it complements the spices with a nutty finish.  But the choice is up to the cook.... it can also be omitted.

Gelitina con Rompope / Gelatin with Rompope
Paletas de Rompope / Rompope Popsicles
Year round you will find Rompope flavored treats and you will always see faces light up like Christmas lights no matter what time of year when Rompope flavored ...Whatever is offered.  Rompope Ice cream, Popsicles, Rompope Flan, Rompope flavored Gelatin, Gelatin WITH Rompope...  The creamyness balanced by the spice of the cinnamon is what gives Rompope its distinct flavor.

So this year, wither you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, I challenge you to make Rompope for your celebrations.  It is a lot easier than making Eggnog and the flavor is so unique that you may start a new holiday tradition.

***I am giving you the Ratio below so that you can decide how much you want to make.  Every recipe that I looked up online called for something between 9 and 20 egg yolks... which just seems crazy to me!  So I am providing you with the base to the drink and you can add spices as you wish.  Some recipes added salt as well. Other Latin American recipes added almonds. Additionally the recipes that I found got really complicated with the hand mixer and adding the egg yolks, the whole thing had to be strained because they had egg clumps... I am a huge fan of the blender and so have adapted the recipe in both size and directions so that you do not get egg chunks or have to strain the whole thing...basically I came up with a faster and lazier way to do it ;)  I suppose if you were going to make a huge batch you could use a stand mixer with a large bowl.

Ratio: 1 cup whole milk to 1 egg yolk to <1/4 cup sugar (sweeter if you plan on adding liquor)

Serves 4
4 cups Whole Milk
2 inch stick of Mexican Cinnamon
3 Whole Cloves
1/8 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/2-3/4 cup Sugar (1/2 if no alcohol 3/4 if adding alcohol)
4 egg yolks
0-1 cup alcohol of your choice (recommend Cane Alcohol for most authentic taste)

Pour milk into a thick bottomed pot and add the spices. (You may want to use a spice egg or cheese cloth for the cloves so you do not have to strain the milk later or fish out the cloves one at a time)
Simmer on the lowest heat until the milk is heavily spiced.
Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon and cloves.
In the blender (or use a hand-mixer) blend the sugar and the eggs.  Whisk until the eggs are extra creamy and the sugar is fully incorporated.  
Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture while vigorously whisking (this is why I like to use the blender).  Repeat for 2-3 cups of warm milk into the egg mixture.
With the milk still off of the flame slowly pour the egg and milk mixture into the remaining warm milk while whisking vigorously.  *This is so you do not cook the egg yolks and end up with goopey chunks in your Rompope.
Once fully incorporated return to the heat on low flame.
Stir frequently while cooking the Rompope until it starts to reduce and evaporate.
Once it has reached the desired consistency remove from the stove and allow to cool.
Add alcohol and chill.
Serve cool or room temperature.  Garnish with a sprinkle of Cinnamon, Nutmeg or Cardamon* if desired.  Bonus Mexican Points if you make Buñuellos to accompany.

If for some crazy reason you have any leftover (hahahaha) you can pour into clean and dry bottles.  Tie a ribbon around the neck and give away as gifts.

*Not traditional but oh so delicious!
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