What is canelazo?
Canelazo is a hot, spiced alcoholic beverage with a beautiful amber color that is consumed in the Andean part of Ecuador, but also in Colombia, northern Peru and Argentina, especially during the Christmas season.
What is the origin of the word canelazo?
Canelazo comes from the Spanish word canela, which means cinnamon. And for good reason, it is the main aromatic ingredient of the recipe.
How to make canelazo
The cinnamon sticks are infused for 40 minutes in hot water with the grated panela. Panela is a sugar loaf made from sugar cane juice. It is also called rapadura, as well as jaggery in India.
Then, aguardiente, a strong clear alcohol consumed in South America, is added. Aguardiente means “fiery water” in Spanish (agua ardiente). This is wine brandy from Spain, in Galicia more precisely. But in Ecuador, aguardiente, the national alcohol of the country, is made from cane sugar. When it is made artisanally, it is called punta. In Colombia, anise is added. In Brazil, it is called cachaça, an alcohol that goes into the composition of the famous caipirinha. The volume of alcohol varies greatly from one production to another.
What is the origin of canelazo?
The origin of canelazo is not precisely known but we know that the drink has been consumed by locals for a long time. In the sixteenth century, the conquistadors thought they had discovered a tree very close to the cinnamon in South America. This came at a time when many voyages of conquest were aimed at discovering new lands of spices because they were the promise of enrichment given their prices in the Western world. The bark and the leaves, but also the buds would have had the same smell and the same flavor as the cinnamon of Asia but not the same form according to Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo. People even talked about the discovery of the country of cinnamon … La Canela, valley of cinnamon, would be the name of this legendary place. But it seems that this is another legend and that the conquistadors had simply discovered a species belonging to the family of Lauraceae, which belongs to the genus Cinnamomum.
In fact, it would seem that cinnamon was introduced to Europe via the Silk Road. Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamumum verum) produced in Sri Lanka, the Seychelles and Madagascar is different from cassia cinnamon (Cinnamumum cassia) or Chinese cinnamon, which is thicker and less fragrant. There is also Saigon cinnamon produced in Vietnam and Padang produced in Indonesia. It is now also grown in the West Indies, Brazil and Guyana. It is this spice that gives canelazo its identity. Pungent and spiced.
The different variants of canelazo
There are a few variants of canelazo. Especially by adding fruit juice like naranjilla, orange or passion fruit juice. Naranjilla is an orange fruit, round, very acidic, typical of South America. It can also be enjoyed without alcohol, like hot tea. And then it will be the cinnamon flavor and not the alcohol that will warm you up.
Aguapanela (agua de panela), a drink found in Central and South America, as well as in the Caribbean, consists of pieces of panela dissolved in water. It can be cool or hot. Sometimes lemon is added, as well as milk or cheese if it is hot. Of course, this drink is much less spiced than canelazo because it does not contain cinnamon.
Canelazo will features a distinct amber color and a very intense and sweet taste due to panela and aguardiente. The panela also provides a lot of minerals, vitamins and plant fibers. And of course this delicious taste of caramel and liquorice, coupled with cinnamon makes it a very spiced and tasty drink.
- 6 cups of water
- 8 sticks of cinnamon
- ½ cup panela , grated
Mix all the ingredients in a medium size pot, except the aguardiente.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.
Incorporate the aguardiente and serve immediately.