Cola de Momo is my vegan version of our most beloved Christmas drink.
It feels like a decade has passed since I last shared recipes on this blog. Yet, surprisingly, October is already upon us. In my country, the national holidays ended just two weeks ago, and now we find ourselves talking about Christmas, New Year, parties, gifts, and summer holidays. All of these festivities come with expenses, leaving me with a dry throat and a craving for something refreshing to drink. As December approaches, with its array of Christmas flavors, what better time to start preparing the delights of the season and savor them for far longer than just the last two weeks of the year?
In Chile, my beloved homeland, the traditional Christmas drink we delight in is known as “Cola de Mono” or “Monkey’s Tail.” Its name may sound amusing and enigmatic, as it bears no relation to monkeys or their tails. Even its origins remain shrouded in mystery, with various theories floating around if one ventures to search online. This beverage, once quite simple, originally consisted of cow’s milk, aguardiente (a type of Moonshine), coffee, and vanilla.
Personally, the moment I catch a whiff of “Cola de Mono,” I am instantly transported back to my cherished childhood memories. I can vividly recall watching my mum and grandmother meticulously preparing it in a large pot, simmering liters of milk with fragrant herbs. As they added sugar, aguardiente, coffee, orange peel and vanilla, the air would be filled with a delightful aroma. Once the mixture reached the perfect warmth, they carefully poured it into empty Coca-Cola bottles, filling our refrigerator to the brim. These bottles were carefully preserved to last until Christmas. Every afternoon, we would gather on the terrace, savoring “Cola de Mono” alongside a slice of pan de pascua, our beloved traditional Christmas fruitcake.
The fond recollections tied to this delightful drink make it all the more special. Each passing year, “Cola de Mono” brings a wave of nostalgia and warmth to our Christmas festivities. Whether it’s the comforting fragrance or the familiar taste that triggers these cherished memories, “Cola de Mono” continues to hold a cherished place in our hearts, an enduring part of our Christmas traditions, and a source of precious moments shared with our loved ones.
“Cola de Momo” My Innovative Version for Those with Intolerances
Today, after nearly four decades of cherishing those beautiful memories, I found myself compelled to craft my own rendition of “Cola de Mono”. This decision stemmed from my genetic lactose intolerance, as even a single sip of the original recipe triggers cramps and discomfort. Moreover, adhering to a gluten-free diet, I embarked on a series of trials to concoct a vegan version of this delightful beverage. Thus, my ingenious creation came to life, playfully dubbed “Cola de Momo” (Momo’s tail) – a name that undoubtedly brings a smile to one’s face.
Exploring Plant-Based Milk Options
Initially, I experimented with my homemade almond and oat-based plant milks from my workshop. However, these milks turned out too watery, lacking the desired creamy texture. My attempt to improve consistency with a dash of xanthan gum proved to be good but laborious. However, a stroke of serendipity occurred when I stumbled upon a box of plant-based milk from the brand Not Milk. While I generally avoid processed products, I must confess that this particular milk perfectly complemented my recipe. Since then, I have remained faithful to this formula for the past two years.
On the rare occasion when Not Milk was unavailable at the supermarket, I resorted to using another boxed oat or coconut milk. Though not unpleasant, it simply failed to compare to the original version. During the past Christmas, I must have prepared at least 20 liters of “Cola de Momos”, much to everyone’s delight. The resounding success of this drink brought joy to my family and guests alike.
Cola de Momo Recipe
It is with heartfelt affection that I present this cherished recipe to you, hoping it brings you the same immense joy it has brought to us. Your thoughts and feedback on this delightful creation are eagerly anticipated and warmly welcomed!
Cola de Momos (Momo’s tail)
- 1 Small pot for boiling the spices
- 1 Stainless steel strainer
- 1 Funnel for bottles
- 1 Glass jug or bottle of 1.5 liters or more. The recipe yields approximately 1.5 liters.
- 1 Lt Plant-based milk. Not Milk Original is my favorite for this recipe.
- 1 cup Aguardiente (moonshine) or Rum. I personally prefer an aromatic rum
- 1 cup Granulated sugar or your preferred sweetener. If you prefer a less sweet taste, feel free to reduce the amount of sugar used.
- 5 unit Cloves.
- 2 sticks Cinnamon,
- 1 unit Orange peel.
- 1 pinch Ground nutmeg.
- 1 tbsp Vanilla extract.
- 3 tsp Instant coffee.
- In a saucepan, carefully bring one cup of purified water to a gentle boil, infusing it with the delightful flavors of cloves, orange peel, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Next, incorporate the coffee and sugar into the heated mixture, stirring thoroughly until fully dissolved.
- After allowing it to cool to a lukewarm temperature, carefully strain the mixture through a strainer and funnel it into the glass bottle.
- Add the cup of aguardiente and the plant-based milk.
- Securely seal the bottle and vigorously shake to ensure thorough mixing of the ingredients.
- Allow it to chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
- Present with ice cubes and a cinnamon stick for an exquisite serving.