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March 27, 2023

Ponche Crema

One of the favorite times of the year for Venezuelan people is Christmas. During this time of the year, it is normal to hear Gaitas or Aguinaldos everywhere in Venezuela. 

People also decorate their houses with Christmas decorations, for example with the Christmas pine tree, lights, garlands, and the nativity scene.

On December 24, families gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus and at 12:00 a.m. children open their gifts. December 31 is also a special date as families celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

Something that Christmas gatherings and celebrations have in common is the typical Christmas gastronomy. Among the savory foods, Hallacas, Pan de Jamón and Ensalada de Gallina stand out.

The desserts and sweet dishes most consumed in December are Torta Negra (or Christmas cake), Dulce de Lechosa, and Panetonne. As for typical drinks, the one that stands out the most is the Ponche Crema.

A drink that was created at the beginning of the last century but still remains valid in time in terms of flavor and tradition. In this article we tell you 6 facts you need to know about Ponche Crema.   

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What is Ponche Crema?

Ponche Crema is a traditional Venezuelan drink, with a sweet flavor, thick and creamy consistency, and a touch of liquor. It is usually consumed cold or with ice and is served in small cups.

What is the history of Ponche Crema?

The creator of Ponche Crema was the chemist and perfumer Eliodoro González. He founded a liquor store in the most commercial area of downtown Caracas and eventually began to experiment with the creation of drinks based on ingredients from Venezuelan cuisine. That is how Ponche Crema was born in 1900.

Eliodoro González traveled throughout America and Europe making his product known, which was highly recognized at St. Louis - Missouri World's Fair, the first fair that gathered the inventions and novelties of the 20th century.

Likewise, the English awarded him the "Grand Prix" prize in London. One of the most striking features of Ponche Crema was the product's label, which read as follows: "This drink keeps for a long time unalterable at room temperature..."

After Eliodoro's death, his heirs decided to establish in 1946 an alliance with businessmen H.L. Boulton and Francisco Monteverde, thus creating the Compañía Anónima Ponche Crema,successor of Eliodoro González P.

In 2005 the company joined the Complejo Licorero del Centro to give rise to the Complejo Licorero Ponche Crema, which continues to manufacture the product today.

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To which countries is it exported?

Since 1997, a new marketing stage was formally established for the Ponche Crema product, which until then had been exported to international markets in an informal manner.

Currently, the product is distributed in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, San Marteen, San Tomás, Surinam, Antigua, and Miami.  

What ingredients are needed to prepare Ponche Crema?

Eliodoro González's original recipe includes milk, eggs, sugar, and the purest grape alcohol, plus a secret ingredient that has been kept private over the years.

Venezuelan families have used different ingredients to achieve the unique flavor of the original Eliodoro González Ponche Crema.

The ingredients commonly used are: 1 can (395 grams) of condensed milk, 1 and a half cups of liquid milk, 1 piece of lemon peel, 4-5 cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon, 3 egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 1 cup of rum and freshly grated nutmeg.

How is Ponche Crema prepared?

With the above-mentioned ingredients you can easily prepare a homemade Ponche Crema following these steps:

Place condensed milk, liquid milk, lemon peel, cloves, and cinnamon in a saucepan and stir over low heat without boiling. In a bowl place the egg yolks and mix them with a teaspoon of cornstarch.

When the milk is hot, add a cup of this mixture to the bowl with the egg yolks and cornstarch and mix quickly.

This mixture of eggs and milk is added to the rest of the milk and continues cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly until it has a thick consistency.

Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes, then strain the mixture. Add the rum and stir, while tasting the desired amount of rum. Add freshly grated nutmeg to taste, let it cool, and bottle in glass bottles.

There are other variations of the original Ponche Crema recipe, in which ingredients are interchanged or some of them are discarded.

For example, you can prepare a Ponche Crema without eggs, based on flan, and then add the liqueur and the other ingredients, and the result is still a delicious drink with a thick consistency.

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What does the Venezuelan expression "Estás Ponchao" mean and how does it relate to Ponche Crema?

From Ponche Crema has emerged the verb "ponchar", which is applied to baseball when a batter accumulates three strikes during the at-bat, being out.

This term arose thanks to the sports narrator Pancho Pepe Cróquer, who in the 1940's publicized the Ponche Crema in baseball championships, applying the term "ponchar" to "strike out".

The popularity of this sport in Venezuela is such that the term "Estás Ponchao" is commonly used not only during baseball games but also in everyday life, to say that someone is going through a bad situation.

Although a bad situation has nothing to do with the Ponche Crema, it is just a comical neologism that emerged from the witticisms of a sports narrator.

Ponche Crema has been a tradition for more than 4 generations of Venezuelans.

Today it is more than 100 years since its creation and it continues to be a drink that is consumed throughout the year in the country, but mostly during Christmas celebrations.

Its creaminess and the distinguished liqueur flavor make it an exquisite drink, widely consumed by Venezuelans.

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