Culture

Here’s The History Of The Rivalry Between Coquito and Crème de Vie

All Latinx folks know that the holidays aren’t the holidays without those trademark winter drinks. The Navidad beverage spectrum is definitely extensive—from ponche caliente to champurrado to canelazo—but two of the most beloved holiday beverages are, sin duda, crème de vie and coquito. These two creamy concoctions are super similar (in the US, crème de vie is sometimes called “Cuban eggnog,” while coquito is known as “Puerto Rican eggnog”), but both drinks have their own fascinating (and mysterious) histories, histories that manifest in seemingly infinite variations at holiday fiestas every year.

Crème de Vie and coquito are sometimes compared to “eggnog” in modern US culture because eggnog is a quintessentially American drink (just think about how famously dairylicious the Midwest is). 

Credit: Pinterest

Most historians believe that eggnog is a relative of a medieval drink called “posset”—a British beverage of curdled hot milk mixed with wine, ale, and spices that was brought over during the 18th century. At the time, brandy and wine were heavily taxed, so rum from the Caribbean was often imported in large, less expensive quantities. Rum, then, was popularly paired with the abundant dairy products cultivated by the colonists, and traditional US eggnog was born.

Some iteration of “eggnog”—used here as a loose term to describe cross-culturally creamy, dairy-based alcoholic winter beverages—is present in just about every Central and South American country. Mexico’s “rompope” adds cinnamon, while Peru’s “biblia con pisco” uses—you guessed it!—pisco instead of rum. But we’re here to talk about crème de vie and coquito, so let’s get to it.

Coquito got its name from its primary ingredient: the coconut.

Credit: Pinterest

With coconut milk and coconut cream as a base, coquito is one of the richest, most delectable tonics one could ever put to their lips. It’s made with Puerto Rican rum, sweetened condensed milk, and other spices (usually vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves). It’s definitely sweet (and is typically served after dinner as a chupito), but it’s balanced out by the warming winter spices. Altogether, it is a well-rounded and deeply indulgent chilly day treat.

The origins of coquito are a bit mysterious, though there are two main theories that propel the imagination deep into its delicious past. Many people postulate that coquito is an outcome of colonization, when the Spanish infiltrated the island back in the early 1500s and brought their traditional version of eggnog with them. Others believe that Coquito is the younger cousin of American eggnog, emerging as a clever way for Puerto Ricans to imbibe during Prohibition (the idea is that the coconut fat could somehow disguise the alcohol, though if you’ve ever smelled a strong glass of coquito, that seems pretty dubious). The most likely source of Coquito is simply Puerto Rico’s abundance of its primary ingredients: coconuts and sugar.

Sugar has been cultivated in Puerto Rico since the 16th century, and its production skyrocketed in the 19th century. Although rum was certainly drunk in Puerto Rico before the 1600s, it did not take hold as an industry on the island until sugar did (rum wouldn’t be rum without sugar, after all). Some people hypothesize that the introduction of sweetened and evaporated milk came from American soldiers, who were familiar with these products after consuming them during wartime.

While we may never know the true origins of this incredible tonic, we can continue to savor coquito at holiday parties until the end of time.

And Crème de Vie? First of all: why “crème de vie” and not “crema de vie?” The answer is just as uncertain as the drink’s history. For some reason, “crème de vie” is used more commonly written, though it’s often pronounced “crema de vie” anyway.

No matter how you shake it, the name translates to “Cream of Life,” and if you’ve ever had this luscious winter cocktail, you know how perfect this translation truly is.

Credit: Pinterest

Crème de Vie differs from Coquito in a very important way: it does not contain coconut, but it still carries a Caribbean flare. It’s quite a bit sweeter, with a base of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, raw egg yolk, and rum (spiced rum tends to be a bit more festive). Like coquito, it’s also garnished with vanilla, cinnamon, and other warming spices, and usually garnished with nutmeg or a full cinnamon stick—but the truth is, it’s different in every family, so your experience might not fit this description exactly!

The history of crème de vie is also unclear, with some people believing it to be borne of either the Spanish conquest or US influence. What we do know is that it is often bottled up and given as a gift for Navidad, and like coquito, it’s generally sipped after dinner as an aperitif.

The history of these drinks may be uncertain, but their popularity in the present is growing rapidly, with competitions like the Coquito Masters drawing national attention to their cultural significance. If your family doesn’t make either one, give it a try this year—you’ll be so glad you did.

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Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

Culture

Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

Photo: Getty Images

This Christmas, unfortunately, is going to be tough for a lot of people. With the coronavirus pandemic still waging on, many of us have had to make the tough decision to stay home for the holidays. That means no traveling out of town or visiting extended family like we have in years past.

If you come from a family that likes to get into the competitive spirit and play games over the holidays, then giving up that tradition might feel too disappointing. Luckily, we can all rely on technology to keep us connected in these trying times when we’re forced to be apart.

We’ve compiled a list of Zoom-friendly games that you can play with your family over the holidays and beyond. Take a peak at our fun picks below!

1. Charades

This one’s an easy one. All you have to do is create a Zoom link, send it out to family members and pick a topic to act out. If you’re having trouble thinking of a word, trying using a Charades word generator.

2. Card Games

Who says a little old pandemic can keep us from playing cards with our loved ones? For many of us, playing cards with our family is as steadfast a holiday tradition as exchanging gifts is. Log on to https://playingcards.io/ to create a custom game room to share with your family.

3. Bingo

Think about it: Bingo is the perfect game to play over Zoom. Websites like https://myfreebingocards.com/virtual-bingo have virtual bingo games you can play for free with up to 30 participants!

4. Heads Up!

Heads Up! is a game in which a player has to guess which word/topic is on their phone screen by the clues their team members are giving them. In order to make the most of this game, players at each Zoom location will have to download the Heads Up! app on their phone. And after that, it’s smooth sailing.

5. All Bad Cards (aka Cards Against Humanity)

If you’re the type of family that likes to push the envelope over a game of Cards Against Humanity, consider logging onto https://allbad.cards/. All you have to do is generate a party room and send the link out to the members of your “party”. Then, you’re ready to go!

6. Pictionary

Pictionary is the kind of game that Zoom was practically invented for. In order to play this game, you’ll have to fire up Zoom’s whiteboard tool and share your screen with all of the participating players. Again, if you can’t think of a topic, get some help with a Pictionary random word generator.

7. Trivial Pursuit

You’ll have to own this classic board game in order to play over Zoom, but if you do, setting it up and playing is super easy. In order to make this game user-friendly for all participants, make sure there’s someone in your location that can play on the same team as someone in a different Zoom location. That way, all the players can be sure that there’s no cheating involved.

8. Outburst

If you’re a fan of Family Feud, then Outburst is probably right up your alley. This game requires that each player brainstorm lists off of a given topic (i.e. Top Ten Christmas songs). Unfortunately, there is no virtual or online version of the game, but instead, team members can take turns coming up with topics and having other players brainstorm lists.

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This Is The Ultimate Telenovela Watch List To Help You Get Through The Holidays

Entertainment

This Is The Ultimate Telenovela Watch List To Help You Get Through The Holidays

La Reina Del Sur / Netflix

Ok, it’s not as if any of us need an excuse to sit down and binge watch our favorite telenovelas. I mean we probably all already have a long list of favorites growing up watching them with our moms, abuelas, and tías.

Melodramas are part of our DNA, and we thrive watching the often times overly passionate scenes on TV with our favorite celebrities. One of the best things about telenovelas is that they have clear villain roles and come with a clear beginning and end. The short stories help us escape into an alternate reality where everything is a life-and-death decision. 

And thanks to a surging pandemic, we’re spending more time than ever at home in front of our screens, looking for more content to watch. So why not work on this epic list of telenovela content to help get you through the holidays.

La Reina del Sur

La Reina del Sur was (and still is) an absolute game changer that’s exactly how it will go down in history. The series that starred Kate del Castillo is about Teresa Mendoza, a woman who gets dumped into the dark world of narcos unknowingly. She soon finds herself being persecuted by the Mexican cartel and escapes to Spain only to revolutionize the drug-trafficking world in Europe. There was no intention to make a sequel, but Telemundo caved after fans requested it for years and in 2019 released another chapter of the saga. Both seasons are available on Netflix now.

La Patrona

Aracely Arámbula is one of our Latin telenovela queens. And one of her greatest telenovelas is La Patrona, in which she portrays Gabriela, a single mother who works as a miner.

Of course, being the only woman who works in the mines brings out the bullies who make her life a living hell. However, things escalate further when she crosses Antonia Guerra. Things take another turn when she finds out that Gabriela Suárez is her grandchild’s mother, and she goes to terrible lengths to get rid her.

It’s a strong classic telenovela story that features two strong women who are determined to complete their goals.

Betty, En NY

Yo Soy Betty, La Fea was a phenomenon that captivated our hearts when it first aired at the turn of the century. The Fernando Gaitán original gave us a lesson about loving oneself and not judging others by their physical appearance.

Telemundo remade the Colombian hit in 2019 and cast Elyfer Torres as the titular character of Betty en NY. The network updated the series to modern times, but the heart of the story remains. One unique aspect of the particular transformation that Betty receives is that they kept her hair curly throughout, making a statement that curly hair is also beautiful.

Rebelde

If you’re obsessed with Elite (along with the rest of the world), then you can think of Rebelde as a way less intense early 2000s version of it. It’s a remake of the Argentinian series Rebelde Way, and it’s set in an *ahem* elite boarding school.

The show follows the relationships of a group of wealthy and scholarship students who, in true Breakfast Club fashion, join together despite their differences and start a pop band. Oh, and another fun thing: They all dress like they’re about to star in a Britney Spears music video. It’s truly amazing.

Pasión de Gavilanes

If you are looking for something steamy to watch, look no further than Pasión de Gavilanes. The Colombian classic pairs three hot men with three gorgeous women, and there are lots (lots) of passionate scenes between all the couples involved. Telemundo remade this telenovela again as Tierra de Reyes with a whole new cast and abs galore.

La Que No Podía Amar

Another Televisa production, La Que No Podía Amar, completely changed the telenovela rules. Our protagonista, Ana Paula, is not your typical heroine as she is not one to take orders from anybody. Our galán is also not the usual lead man as he mistreats everyone around him due to an accident that left him unable to walk. Despite their clashing, they somehow bring out the best in each other and create a magical love.

¿Donde Está Elisa?

A telenovela meets true crime thriller? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s basically the premise of this Telemundo classic, ¿Dónde Está Elisa? 

As the family is engulfed in knowing Elisa’s whereabouts, deep, dark secrets start to unravel. How did Elisa disappear? Who is behind her disappearance? Is she dead or alive? The characters will ask themselves these questions, but the culprit of all this drama might just be at home.

La Usurpadora

This list would have a big gaping hole if we didn’t include the telenovela to end all telenovelas. La Usurpadora stars Gabriela Spanic as twin sisters Paulina and Paola, who trade places when the latter abandons her family and escapes with her love.

Paulina is the noble sister who ends up taking care of the Bracho family and finally making them feel like a family unit again. This sweet and bonkers story is one you have to watch if you call yourself a telenovela fan. Televisa adapted the story in 2019 with Sandra Echeverría as the twins. However, this time, it is set in the political world. This miniseries is available on Amazon Prime Video.

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