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Suzi and I are in Austin to see our grandchildren perform in band. High school band is a big, big deal in Texas. And the Vandergrift Vipers are state winners. Between musical events, we will be trying Tex-Mex and Mexican food galore. Austin is a superb food city. Our cookbook reviews for a few days will honor this broad culinary venue. I’m reposting cookbook delights featuring the best in fiery cuisine. So, time to buy chiles and avocados. And, I guess, beer.

If you love cocktails and fruit, then this cocktail tome belongs in your bar. Right there, on the shelf, next to the rum and pisco. Authors Vianney Rodreiguez and Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack are award winning bloggers who have joyously teamed on this liquid tour of the Latin beverage world.

There are 97 drinks here, from 19 countries — including the Latin starting point of Spain with its classic sangrias.

From Mexico to the southern tip of Chile, we travel and learn about the “local” beverages that make Latin America very beverage rich, and a tad undiscovered. There is more to that beverage life than a daiquiri or pina colada. As your travel south, the available fruits and spirits change with the latitude and the altitude.

Citrus fruits are core elements, of course. But guava and passion fruit and papaya and pineapple and mango and even plain old apple happily dash among the pages here. Some drinks are quite simple: literally rum in your coffee.

And some are complicated national beverages of distinction. In Venezuela, the La Tizana punch uses: banana, apple, mango, cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, oranges, and limes. Oh, don’t worry, there’s rum too! This post ends with a picture of La Tizana. I expect you will be buying fruit this afternoon.

The drinks offered here are local ones, often national gems that Americans don’t know exist. Or, while widely known, there may be some controversy. That Pisco Sour? Different countries claim it as their invention, so naturally different recipes appear here. You’ll just have to mix and shake up that egg white so you can judge for yourself.

There are cocktails and punches here. Plus holiday specials. Are you a fan of eggnog? There are several eggnog-like recipes here, even one with no eggs.

My eggnog favorite is the Ponche from the Dominican Republic. I know, it is still September and way too hot for eggnog, but here’s the Ponche recipe. File it away and when the first fall chill arrives, have an early holiday treat. This recipe calls for nutmeg, which is surely the tradition. But other spices could be added or substituted. Making this in October? Tradition be damned: go with the cinnamon.


Ponche

Yield: 6 gigantic servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups evaporated milk
  • 2 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups rum

Preparation:

Whisk together evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks in a large saucepan. Simmer and stir over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in nutmeg and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, strain if needed to remove any solids. Stir in rum and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled in small glasses.


Latin Twist is a wonderful cocktail book that will have you experimenting, sipping and smiling year around. For a new twist on your cocktails, well, Latin Twist is a brilliant journey.

 

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