Home for the holidays means kremas time in Haitian-American households When May…


Home for the holidays means kremas time in Haitian-American households

When Maybelle Jadotte sits down for Thanksgiving dinner with her two children in their Brooklyn home, extended family members will join them virtually. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the smaller in-person gathering is just one more safeguard to take in a year filled with uncertainty and anxiety. But one thing that will be the same for the family, and in the homes of many Haitian-American families throughout the holiday season, is kremas. 

Whether made from an age-old family recipe or store-bought, the warmth of kremas’ sweetened milk, coconut aroma and cinnamon spice is sure to permeate many a household. And in a year filled with loss and anxiety, the eggnog-like beverage, spiked with Haitian rum or moonshine and strained to silky smoothness, will be a source of familiar comfort. 

Kremas variations

The St. Louis family recipe contains mainstay ingredients like Barbancourt rum, cinnamon and condensed milk, blended with coconut. Instead of lime juice, St. Louis said she flavors her kremas with grated lemon peel. 

However, throughout Haiti and the diaspora, flavoring and methods of preparation vary. 

“There’s some people that make kremas really thick, some that make it really liquidy,” said Myriam Jean-Baptiste, co-founder of LS Cream Liqueur in Montreal. “It all depends on your family recipe.”

Chef Alain Lemaire, who runs a Florida catering company called Sensory Delights, makes a particularly hot kremas with grain alcohol that he says is 190-proof.

“It’s something they do in Haiti,” said Lemaire, of Miami. “I grew up on kremas not made with rum.” 

An enduring tradition

Traditionally, the sugar cane derivative clairin, or kleren, has been used to spike kremas. Sugar cane has grown in Haiti since the 15th century, when the Spanish first brought the crop to the island of Hispaniola. 

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Source: Haitian Times
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