Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Winter warmers: making Canelazo

Despite living on the equator, it's been a cold, wet week in Quito. But what better excuse to brew up a steaming mug of canelazo to warm the cockles?

Canelazo is a hot, sugary drink with cinnamon and naranjilla fruit. It's an Andean take on German Gluhwein – or perhaps more closely, the hot cider they drink in the USA. It can get pretty chilly at night when you're living at 3,000 metres above sea-level so when the sun sets we swap the cerveza for canelazo.

Here is a recipe for the perfect canelazo.
  1. Boil two large sticks of cinnamon in one litre of water for 10 minutes until the water starts to take on their colour
  2. Peel four naranjilla * fruits and blend with a splash of the cinnamon water to the consistency of a road kill toad. Sieve the thick sauce to remove the seeds
  3. Add the naranjilla fruit to the boiling cinnamon water and stir thoroughly.
  4. Add half a cup of sugar to the canelazo – (or to taste)
  5. Add one shot of cana Manabita ** per person
  6. Serve steaming hot in mugs, preferably on a cold winter's night
* If you're living outside South America you'll be lucky to find naranjilla in your local Tesco so oranges can be used as a substitute. 
** Cana Manabita is the sugar cane spirit of Manabi but any good, white rum will work as a substitute. 

Naranjilla fruit
Naranjilla - good luck finding these in your local Tesco
Cana Manabita
Cana Manabita - the sugar cane spirit of the Ecuadorian coast
I served this recipe recently with positive feedback. It was at a beach party at a hippy house in Ayampe - everybody at the multinational gathering enjoyed it, including Ecuadorians, Colombians, Argentinians, Peruvians, a pair of Yanks and a sleepy French woman who was trying to kip on a hammock but the street dogs kept licking her face.

I gave the hippies delicious canelazo, they gave me guacamole and amoebic dysentery.

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