What is rompope?
Rompope is a Costa Rican drink made from egg yolk, milk, sugar, rum and cinnamon.
The same beverage is found in Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Mexico and Nicaragua but for some, its origin is Salvadoran. Others argue that rompope was born in the convents of the Puebla region of Mexico.
This drink is also marketed in Latin America in the form of a ready to use liquor but the ideal way is to prepare it yourself with fresh ingredients. It will only be better, especially as its preparation is quick and easy. You may know this drink under the name of eggnog (with or without alcohol). In the form of a liquor, it often comes in the preparation of cookies, cakes, ice creams or jellies.
Rompope is usually prepared during the end of year celebrations and more specifically at Christmas time. You can prepare a few bottles ahead of time to celebrate during these festive periods.
How to make rompope
To prepare a good amount of rompope, mix the milk with sugar and cinnamon. This mixture is then cooked. In parallel, the eggs are beaten until they become foamy. Then, you have to pour the milk on the eggs and then cook again just like a custard. The milk should not curdle. Finally, alcohol and vanilla are incorporated, mixed and allowed to cool for 8 hours. This drink can also be enjoyed hot on the spot or cold after resting in the refrigerator. Some like to garnish it with some cinnamon powder. You can thin out the rompope by adding a little fresh milk or, on the contrary, thicken it with heavy cream.
What is the origin of rompope?
The most solid story is that the Poor Clares are at the origin of this drink. They are known for the quality of their dishes they offered to visitors without ever tasting. It would be a sister Eduviges who would have forwarded the recipe to the Franciscans of Puebla de los Angeles and finally to all the convents and cloisters of the region. Although rompope is often made at home, the version sold in the form of a liqueur has a well-kept secret ingredient behind the walls of the convents. The Augustinian nuns of the convent of Santa Monica de Puebla also claim to be at the origin of the rompope. Others say that Pedro Gonzalez, a craftsman in the city of Comala, would be the inventor. Finally, some people also lend a Spanish origin to this drink called rompon.
What are the other versions of rompope?
Rompope can be prepared with rum, cinnamon and vanilla but it is not uncommon to find flavored versions with coffee, pistachio, chocolate, peanut or pine nuts. The rompope is a cousin of eggnog. This drink of English origin was usually made with strong beer or wine. It is not until the colonial period and the triangular trade that the rum replaced the liquors appreciated in the old continent.
Depending on the Latin country where this drink is prepared and variants of the recipe, it takes different names such as rompopo in Central America, ponche crema in Venezuela, caspiroleta in Peru, coquito in Puerto Rico, cola de mono (based on coffee) in Chile or licor de ovos in Brazil.
Two bottles of rompope are often prepared, one with alcohol for adults and one without for children. The alcohol is added at the end, it does not cook and this drink therefore remains with a high alcohol content.
This recipe is validated by Chef Randy Siles Leandro, first Ambassador of Costa Rica’s National Plan for Sustainable and Healthy Gastronomy. Randy is the owner and creator of OS restaurant, cofounder of Autóktono and founder of Academia Artesanos de la Gastronomía in Costa Rica.
- 5 cups whole milk (cold)
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 10 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup white rum
- Ground cinnamon
- In a large saucepan, combine the whole milk, sugar and cinnamon stick.
- Cook over low-medium heat until boiling, stirring very regularly.
- Turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the hot milk while whisking quickly at the same time, until all the liquid is well incorporated.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and simmer on very low heat.
- Stir frequently and continue cooking for 5 minutes without boiling, as the milk will curdle.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Then add the vanilla and the rum and whisk well.
- Cool in the refrigerator for 8 hours before serving.
- When serving, sprinkle with ground cinnamon.