The holidays aren’t the same without a creamy and sweet Haitian Kremas / Cremas! Similar to the eggnog but without the eggs, Haitian Kremas is a perfect twist to a classic holiday drink.
With the holidays upon us, who doesn’t want a tasty drink for parties, family gatherings, or movie nights at home? If you are looking for a delicious drink recipe, we’ve got the perfect one. Haitian kremas is a smooth beautiful drink that is similar to eggnog, but far more delicious.
Most families often make bottles of this delicious Haitian creamy drink every year in order to give away as gifts to loved ones. If you bring a bottle of Kremas to any holiday party, you’ll most likely be invited year after year.
Kremas/cremas is a creamy, milky coconut drink which originated in Haiti. It has been a part of our Haitian Independence from the very beginning alongside our Soup Joumou, and both has remained the ultimate celebratory food and drink since January 1, 1804, when we gained our independence. Kremas is one of our many delicacies.
Just like our most beloved foods like our Haitian Black Rice (Diri Djon Djon), Soup Joumou (vegan soup Joumou), and Conch also known as (Haitian) Lambi, Haitian Kremas require lots of love, attention, and most of all patience.
Coconut is the MAIN INGREDIENT to make this iconic drink and finishes off with our Haitian Rhum Barbancourt or Vodka if you can’t find the Haitian Rum.
If prepared properly, the drink will be a creamy color with specks of the spices that are used; cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg which are also key to making this drink even more delicious.
As we have mentioned, Haitian kremas bears some similarities to eggnog, but does not contain eggs. A much closer relative is the Puerto Rican Coquito. The coquito is made of similar ingredients as the kremas minus the eggs as well.
What makes this drink so creamy besides the addition of the coconut milk, which is the main ingredient, are the two other types of milk that are used: evaporated and sweetened condensed.
To make this delicious drink, real coconut is the preferred ingredient. However, if you are not able to use fresh coconuts, you can substitute it for cream of coconut (as we have used in this recipe).
The milk is flavored with a variety of spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, and some extracts are added, too – vanilla, and almond. These flavors meld so well together, you can taste the holiday spirit.
To brighten the flavors a bit, lime is added. The lime juice is added not only for flavor, but also as a thickening agent. The lime zest is optional, but it does compliment well in this drink, so choose according to your palate. As a reminder, we use the juice to thicken the kremas – another important ingredient in this Haitian delicacy. So here’s what you’ll need to make it.
Coconut: As we are unable to find real coconut in our region during this time of year, we are utilizing cream of coconut as a replacement. We will continue to hunt for the real coconuts, and we will update this article as soon as we are able to find it, in order to provide you two different methods on how to make this delicious drink with ease.
Cream of coconut: Best to use cream of coconut as a replacement to real coconut, as it will provide that extra creaminess we are looking, the texture that is highly sought-after and that is found in Haitian Kremas.
Unsweetened Coconut, Evaporated Milk & Condensed Milk: These milk options are used to provide richness to the drink including giving the cremas body. They are used to thicken and sweeten the drink.
Vanilla & Almond Extract, Cinnamon, Start Anise & Nutmeg: Is used to add warmth to the drink. Making you feel extra cozy and into the holiday spirit.
Sugar: Will add extra sweetness to the drink.
Lime: Using lime and or lime zest will add light acidity to the drink. But more importantly, it is used to marry all the ingredients together and thicken the milk that was added, making the drink ultra-creamy and rich.
Rum or Vodka: Last step but completely optional, is only added to add some oomph to the drink.
How To Make Haitian Cremas?
Making your Haitian Cremas / Haitian Kremas is very simple. However, lots of patience is required.
We strongly recommend you do not blend the ingredients as it is not the authentic way to make kremas.
The full recipe with the exact measurement is listed below in the recipe card.
To begin, from start to finish over low heat, start by adding the evaporated milk. Most Haitian use Carnation milk brand. Then add in the coconut milk while stirring. Continue stirring until the coconut milk has dissolved completely. Then add in the Cream Of Coconut Milk and Condensed Milk. Continue stirring in a circular motion until completely dissolved.
Next, add in the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Continue stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Once you have added all of the ingredients, allow the Kremas to heat through. DO NOT bring it to boil as this will cause your Kremas to burn at the bottom of the saucepan and not thicken when the lime is added.
Continue to heat through over low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour; stirring in a circular motion often.
Next, use a sieve to strain the Kremas. Allow the Kremas to sit and cool for 4 to 6 hours but best overnight.
The Final Touches
After straining and allowing the drink to completely cool. Squeeze fresh lime juice in the drink while stirring. You may also zest the lime before adding in the juice. This is completely optional.
Then finish it off with the rum or vodka. When you are done, transfer the drink in a bottle. Refrigerate and enjoy as desired.
Do I Have To Use Fresh Coconut?
Traditionally, Haitian Kremas / Haitian Cremas contains freshly squeezed coconut milk, made from grated and soaked coconut flesh. Then the milk is slowly boiled while the other ingredients are added one at a time.
It tastes a lot better than the canned stuff and makes for a smoother Kremas. However, it does require patience and more work. Because it surely takes a good amount of time.
This is where Cream of coconut comes in! If you’ve never used cream of coconut before, it is like heavy cream made with coconut.
How To Make Vegan (Dairy-Free) Kremas?
Making your Kremas vegan (or dairy free) isn’t difficult. Simply replace the sweetened condensed milk with coconut condensed milk. And instead of using evaporated milk, use additional coconut milk.
Add in the other ingredients and allow to heat through as mentioned above. When the time is up, strain the drink and allow cooling before adding in the rum.
What Kind Of Rum Do I Use?
Haitian Rum is best used in this drink as it provides a specific flavor. If you do not have Haitian Rum, that’s perfectly fine as you can also use any clear rum or vodka.
Are There Eggs In Haitian Kremas?
That’s the beauty about this drink and that’s what make it so incredibly easy to prepare, and it has a vegan option. It contains no eggs.
How Long Does Kremas Last?
Kremas usually last up to two years in a cool place unopened. Once opened, it will last between 9 to 12 months in the fridge.
Yes, you can freeze Kremas. Without alcohol it will turn solid. However, with alcohol, although it may not become solid, but it will be very chilled.
If freezing, we do not recommend freezing them in a glass bottle, instead transfer the kremas to a freezer safe container. The kremas will last about 1 year in the freezer and longer in the deep freezer.
Haitian kremas can be prepared and served in a variety of ways. It can be served as room temperature or over ice.
Preparing Haitian kremas in a traditional way requires a few crucial steps, like infusing the milk with spices. This is an important step, because much of the flavor will come from this process. Put your milk in a saucepan over low heat and watch over it to make sure it does not boil. Remember: low and slow.
To further infuse the spices, you’ll let your mixture sit for at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight. This is going to bring out the flavors so beautifully, so do not skip this step. After 4 to 6 hours or the next day, strain your mixture to remove the spices.
Rum is optional in Haitian kremas, and it is to be added at the very end of the recipe.
Do note that the rum will not cook out at any point, so adding this ingredient will make the drink an alcoholic drink.
Some Haitian kremas recipes are quicker and do not require the infusion step and instead blend the ingredients.
We strongly recommend you do not blend the ingredients as it is not the authentic way to make kremas. When infusing your ingredients, make sure to use whole spices as they are pungent and will provide that robust flavor that is often and naturally found in cremas.
As you finish your cremas, you can serve it over ice, or as is. If you’re serving guests, pour it into a fancy glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick or star anise. If you’re throwing a tropical holiday party, pop a lime wedge on the rim of the glass.
Opened bottled Haitian kremas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 12 months. If you’re unsure whether to drink it, check to make sure it is not carbonated. If it has, do not drink it. Kremas does naturally separate, no need to panic if it does. The creamy part of the drink will rise and the clearer part will be at the bottom of the bottle. Shake it well and serve it exactly how you did the first time, and enjoy!
More Desserts To Enjoy With Your Drink
Aside from our delicious Haitian Cake, we recommend you pair it with one of these cakes.
It warms our hearts to see the recipes you make from this site, and we’d especially would love to know if you tried this recipe.
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How To Make Haitian Kremas
- 1 Can 12 Oz. Carnation Milk
- 1 Can 14 Oz. Condensed Milk
- 1 Can 13 FL Oz. Unsweetened Coconut Milk Plus 1 Cup
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 5 Star Anise
- 1 Tsp. Nutmeg
- 2 Cans 22 Oz. (Each) Cream Of Coconut
- 2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tsp. Almond Extract
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- pinch of Salt
- 1 Lime; Zest is optional
- 1 Cup Haitian Rum
- To begin, from start to finish over low heat, start by adding the Carnation milk. Then add in the coconut milk while stirring to combine. Continue stirring until the coconut milk has dissolved completely. Then add in the Cream Of Coconut Milk and Condensed Milk. Continue stirring in a circular motion until completely dissolved.
- Next, add in the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Continue stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.Once you have added all of the ingredients, allow the Kremas to heat through. DO NOT bring it to boil as this will cause your Kremas to burn at the bottom of the saucepan and not thicken when the lime is added.Continue to heat through over low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour; stirring in a circular motion often.Next, use a sieve to strain the Kremas. Allow the Kremas to sit and cool for 4 to 6 hours but best overnight.After straining and allowing the drink to completely cool. Squeeze fresh lime juice in the drink while stirring. You may also zest the lime before adding in the juice. This is completely optional.Lastly add the rum or vodka. When you are done, transfer the drink in a bottle. Refrigerate and enjoy as desired.