Costa Rica’s Eggnog
Costa Rica’s favorite Christmas drink is also a favorite in many other places. Ticos here call it Rompope; chances are you will recognize its other name- Eggnog.
Rompope is a sweet, calorie-rich, milk based drink enjoyed hot or cold and is consumed anytime of the year. During the Christmas Season it is the drink used to celebrate the Season.
Warning: The recipes call for alcohol in the mix and the quantity added is a personal decision. When entertaining ‘mixed’ company (drinkers and non-drinkers) prepare an alcohol free batch of Rompope and then add alcohol as needed. This method allows children and non-drinkers to enjoy Rompope to-taste. Always drink responsibly.
Rompope or Eggnog is probably the most popular Christmas drink in the world. Recipes vary from place-to-place but the foundation is similar everywhere. In many countries a commercially prepared mixtures is available in supermarkets. Homemade versions are always preferred in Costa Rica. Rompope is a favorite anytime.
Perfect your Rompope skills at home, ‘practice makes perfect’; begin by shopping for those ingredients not already in your kitchen. It’s so easy to do, mix and enjoy it hot or over ice if you prefer.
Start with this recipe, then tweak-it to your liking.
Rompope – an Historical Perspective
Rompope’s history dates back many centuries and by reading through it you may discover some interesting ingredients for your pleasure.
The drink started-out in Europe and made its way across the Atlantic to North America to Mexico and into Central America. Finally it settled here on the ‘Gold Coast’ shores of Costa Rica.
As Rompope Popularity Grew
As Rompope’s popularity grew, more countries formulated their own recipes and added their own names. Today we know Rompope and its variations as:
Eggnog: America & Canada
Posset, Egg Flip: England
Biersuppe, Eierlikoer: Germany
Rompope: Mexico & Central America
Kogel Mogel: Poland
Ponche Crema: Venezuela
The first mentions of Rompope dates back to medieval times in England, it was then called Posset. Warmed milk was curdled by mixing it with wine or ale before drinking. Note, they didn’t use sugar or eggs in the recipe, for good reasons.
Sugar had not yet arrived in Europe; it came to England with the return of the Crusaders at the end of their Campaign in the 11th Century. Although sugar became available in England, in 1099, it remained unaffordable to most people until the 13th Century because of heavy taxation; only the very wealthy could afford it. Likewise, eggs too were expensive and not easily available; most people preferred to eat their eggs.
The English Monks are credited with making the first pots of Posset, using milk, wine or ale, figs, honey or beet-juice and most importantly alcohol.
The wealthy folk would enjoy this rich drink. Using the same basic mixture they added to the Posset mixture more costly ingredients. Their deep pockets allowed them to include eggs to the mix and their choice of alcohol- rich brandies or wines.
Long after, across the ocean, the Pilgrim’s landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620). As settlers they eventually established trade routes with England via the Atlantic. Ships returning from America provided the British with a few sweet-tropical delights like non-cane sugars, maple sugar, corn sugar and other non-sugarcane sweeteners.
During the 19th Century, sugarcane was finally grown in the Americas; it came from the Caribbean along with the distillation of rum. Both rum and sugar were exported to Europe and eventually the world via the ‘Triangular Trade Routes’. The trading route between Europe, West Africa and the Caribbean (via America) burned a place in history, famous for cargoes of rum, sugar and slaves.
So Posset had the addition of sugar and other tropical spices to its original formula (Thank God). Cinnamon already made its way to Europe, in the 5th Century, thanks to Arab traders via land routes. The British changed the name of the new concoction to an Egg Flip.
Americans are credited with naming it Eggnog when they whipped the new spices- cane-sugar, cloves and nutmeg into the ‘Nog’ which continued to use imported alcohol.
Because imported alcohols, brandies and wines, were taxed by the European suppliers, the Americans substituted rum in place of them. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pond, the British were charging another hefty tax on the imported cane-sugar, preventing the average person from including it in their Egg Flips.
Today it is commonly agreed that rum adds a much better flavor to Rompope. There are so many wonderful rums available so enjoy experimenting with them.
Eggnog is available in nearly every corner of the world. The sweetened milk drink is fortified with eggs, flavored with spices and enhanced with alcohol.
Commercially preparations are sold in stores and supermarkets worldwide. Some are formulated for persons needing special diets or suffering from allergies. They are supplied in non-dairy, sugar-free, egg-free, alcohol-free, pasteurized, servings; but none can compare to the genuine Costa Rica Rompope.
Rompope Recipe – I
This Rompope recipe has been voted the most popular in Costa Rica. The following ingredients are needed:
1.5 Litres Fresh Milk (Cows, Goats or Coconut milk can be used)
14 oz. Condensed Milk (1 small can)
1 box * Romporika (see substitute- it may be difficult to get outside Costa Rica)
6 Egg yolks
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Vanilla (liquid)
Rum (to taste)
Gently heat the milk, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan. Before the mixture boils, whip the egg yolks then stir them in along with the sugar, condensed milk and Romporika. Let mixture cool before adding vanilla and finally the rum. Set in a non-metallic, covered, container in the refrigerator if mixed ahead of time. Otherwise, allow it to cool and serve over ice.
*If Romporika is not available consider using the following recipe. It does not require Romporika or condensed milk.
Rompope Recipe – II
Smaller servings are used in this mixture making it ideal for two persons.
3 Egg yolks
1 ½ Cups Milk
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
½ tsp. Vanilla (liquid)
Rum (to taste)
Whip the eggs yolks until they are a frothy lemon color. Gradually heat the milk, do not boil. Then add the warm milk to the egg mixture, ensure the milk is not hot enough to cook the eggs then add the other ingredients stirring constantly.
Here is a list of alternative ingredients used to make Rompope:
- Rum *
* White rums tend to impart less of their own flavors (like vodkas) and provide a pleasant warmth to the Rompope.
- Refined (White) Sugar
- Granulated (Brown) Sugar
- Maple Sugar
- Cow’s Milk
- Condensed Milk
- Evaporated Milk
- Acidophilus Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Un-whipped Cream
- Whipped Cream
Ask for Rompope at the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs’ Tiki Bar & Restaurant. You’ll find it soothing and relaxing. After checking-in at the Blue River Costa Rica Resort and Hot Springs for Christmas, you can compare your mix to theirs.
Or during a tour, whether staying at the hotel or elsewhere, the 1 day Eco Adventure Tour at Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, you’ll be surrounded by farms with locals. For example, when on one of the Eco-adventure tours, like the Zip Lining and Tarzan Swing tour, ask someone to show you yuca growing and to sample what delicious Yuca dishes are; and remember to ask for their recipes.
Contact them at:
US (800) 840-5071 | CR (506) 7298-3200