Hey, y’all! Happy Thursday. Well, we’ve just about made it to the weekend. In past years I considered Thursday the first day of the weekend. Let the festivities begin! However, in my golden years I’ve learned the folly of too much drink. The whole shooting match, from stumbling down the black hole to being just plain fat. Mama’s words, “Everything in moderation, cielo. Everything in moderation.” echoed in the dark gray of my thoughts. I was so unhappy. Mom was so sick… for so many years. It ripped me in half. She suffered from Parkinson’s, a hideous disease with an overabundance of symptoms, the least of all being tremors. For all her culture, polish and dignity, Mama had the pain thresh hold of a mule. She was amazing. She withstood intolerable pain with such grace for years…YEARS. I felt cowardly and spineless next to her, completely inadequate. I don’t know if I could have withstood that level of agony, everything from crushing pain IN her bones to terrifying hallucinations. It was so ugly and vicious. So I hid in drink. Dad’s plight began shortly after we lost Mom. Unsteady on his feet, he became more and more prone to falls. The body which he had taken such good care of all his life began to turn on him. In all honesty, I did everything I could for that man. We had full time care for him when he couldn’t walk anymore, as we had for Mom, so I didn’t bathe him or dress him, but I was with him and there to help him almost everyday for a very long time. I’m a daddy’s girl. He was mine and I was his. It was wrenching seeing him slowly, oh so slowly, going downhill. Everyday, as soon as I returned home, my mantra became, “I need a drink.” Then we lost him. I was floundering. I was some kinda lost. And I didn’t tell anyone the extent of it. It’s a slippery slope, y’all, that black hole. Easy to slide in. Not so easy to find your way out. Anyway, some time ago I stopped. Cold turkey. I didn’t want it. Alcohol was like poison in me. And it made crazy. You could smell the crazy on me. Seriously. So I stopped. The chains of dependency and sadness were just too heavy to keep dragging around. Plus I had gotten fat from drink. And let’s be realistic. No woman wants to look old and fat. I can’t do anything about the old but I sure can about the “fat”. So, one day, I simply made the decision to stop and I did. Does that mean I haven’t touched a drop? No. I’ve toasted with a glass or two of bubbly and enjoyed it. Now and again when my husband, Jimmy, opens a bottle of wine, I may or may not ask for a taste… no more than a sip or two and not often. Thankfully, I don’t crave the rest of the bottle. But I do enjoy and savor the occasional sample sip. A celebration warrants a rich treat. However, gone are the days of endless G&T’s and bottles, excuse me, handles of bourbon, tequila, rum and vodka. Nope. “Everything in moderation, cielo. Everything in moderation.”
Y’all, this is the quintessential island drink. There are so many levels of flavor. Between the lime, nutmeg and star anise, this brilliant combination is a delight to the mouth. Kremas is an uncomplicated, celebratory punch which calls for all ingredients to be added to your blender, then after a blitz or two… voila…one of the best punches I’ve ever had the pleasure to sip. Star anise can be found in its natural form in the Hispanic section of your grocery store, although I feel as though it should also be included in the Asian section as it’s an integral part of pho…but that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Also, star anise can be found in extract form in the baking section. I’ve found Haitian rum to be some of the finest in the world, (sorry Puerto Rico), so I strongly suggest purchasing a bottle of Barbancourt rum. Golden and heady with flavors, it is a superior sipping rum. If you’d rather keep it alcohol free, blend it up without the rum. It will still be fabulous and satisfying. Enjoy, y’all. I did…but only a sip or two.
Haitian Rum & Milk Punch, Kremas
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 star anise or 1 teaspoon star anise extract
- 1 15-ounce can cream of coconut, NOT coconut milk
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 cup golden rum, preferably Barbancourt
- Add evaporated milk, cinnamon and star anise to a small saucepan and heat until bubble show. Do not boil. If using star anise extract do not add. Remove from heat.
- To blender add remaining ingredients including star anise extract if using. Pulse several times.
- Carefully transfer evaporated milk mixture to blender. Pulse several times.
- Serve at room temperature or chill in refrigerator. Upon serving, do not add ice. Store in refrigerator.