If it’s a Haitian celebration, there’s going to be cremas. It’s delicious, kind of like egg nog or coquito, but boozier.
Somehow, much of Miami is still in the dark about what it even is, so we brought over local Marie Lafalaise and her two helpers, David Noel and David Doirin, to teach us how to make it.
“Haitian cremas is a drink Haitian people have any time of the year, especially for their birthdays, weddings, and most importantly during the Christmas time through the New Year,” explained Lafalaise.
A half-gallon of milk, a bag of sugar, a bottle of vanilla extract, two cans of carnation milk, two cans of condensed milk, two cans of coconut milk, a few cinnamon sticks, Jamaican rum (the whole bottle), gin (a half-ish bottle? add to your own preference), nutmeg, and a little star anise.
Step 1: Reduce the milk for two hours on low, boiling it with cinnamon and star anise. Let it cool for one to two hours before using it, then filter the solid bits out.
Step 2: Stir the milk in a counter-clockwise direction. (Note: Don’t switch directions at any point — that’s very important. We’re not totally sure why, but Marie was emphatic.)
Step 3: Add two cups of sugar.
Step 4: Continue stirring in a counterclockwise direction. Add two more cups of sugar, if you want to.
Step 5: Stir the following in slowly: coconut milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, rum, gin, and lime juice.
Step 6: Finish off with grated nutmeg and lime zest.
Step 7: Enjoy the cremas!
If you’d like to try some without doing all the mixing yourself, swing by Libreri Mapou Creole & French Bookstore in Little Haiti, where owner Jan Mapou can sell you some of his, made with his special family recipe. Don’t ask him to tell you how he does it, though. That’s a secret. (We tried.)
Check out our Little Haiti and Little River neighborhood guide for more spots to visit around this vibrant neighborhood!