Celebrating with Candil: Colombian Hot Rum Milk
In the plateau city of Bogota, where the weather’s a bit cooler than in my birth city of Medellin, there’s a special, hot beverage that people swear by as the ultimate eraser of any chill. It’s called candil. Recently, I was lucky enough to have former accountant and inspired home cook, Martha Martinez, show me a few of her favourite Colombian dishes. Candil was one of them.
I’ve heard some describe it as a “hot milkshake.” To me, it’s more like a subtle, less sweet hot eggnog that’s soon to be a cold-weather favourite at our house. In Medellin, Martha’s partner Alfredo informs us that the same beverage is called caspiroleta.
“Yes! That’s what it’s called!” says my mother, the evening Martha and I prepare a bona fide Colombian meal, adding, “My mother used to make this for us when we went to the farm, and I learned to make it from her….Wonderful memories,” she adds before her mind wanders to that place with living, younger versions of my grandmother, aunts, uncle and the farm “pet” – a partially domesticated wolf they named Sasha.
“Ok, so we’re making this over the holidays, right?” asks my husband Mario after downing his cup. And, of course we are! I think we’ll add a little more of the Colombian rum I’ve spiked with fragrant vanilla bean pods from Mexico and a stick of cinnamon, too. And if I’m really lucky, I’ll convince my mom to teach me how to make buñuelos (deep fried golden cheese orbs of delight), some Colombian style empanadas and the classic Christmas favourite- natilla (a sturdy custard that tastes like dulce de leche) with flecks of coconut embedded throughout. For this, I’ll be channeling a whole lot of Martha Martinez and even ask her and Alfredo to join us in keeping the embers of my nascent culinary return “home” burning right here in Canada.–Mary Luz
Candil: Colombian Hot Rum Milk
Yield: 2 | Total time: 15 min
"Inspired home cook, Martha Martinez, showed me a few of her favourite Colombian dishes, including this holiday drink. Martha swears by this, if you have a cold or feel one coming on, as the curative remedy of choice. She also uses an olleta – a metal pitcher used for making hot drinks like candil or hot chocolate in Colombia. If you don’t have one, use a tall saucepan* – but make sure it’s tall because when the milk starts to froth and “grow,” you don’t want it all over your stove or floors. To froth the candil, Martha also only uses a molinillo, a hand beater that you rub back and forth between the palms of your hands, available at Latin grocery stores. I ask Martha if a hand blender will do – she hasn’t tested this and is a firm believer in the low and slow process of using a hand molinillo. If you do use an immersion hand blender, make sure to use it on the lowest setting. We enjoy our candil with the most typical of Colombian sweets – two figs in syrup per person, served with a slice of St. John’s cheese (fresh farmer’s cheese) and a dollop of arequipe – cow’s milk dulce de leche. Muy, muy buen." --Mary Luz Mejia
- 1/2 litre/about 2 cups whole milk
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar or panela (Colombian, unrefined whole cane sugar found in Latin food grocery stores) or coconut sugar. Note – use sugar sparingly as this drink is meant to be only slightly sweet.
- 2 large room temperature eggs
- Optional: Shot of Colombian rum or brandy, 2 small sticks of cinnamon
- Add the milk into the olleta or pan* at medium heat. Once the milk warms up (do not let it boil), add sugar and blend using a molinillo*. If using an immersion blender, make sure to set it on a fairly low speed.
- Slowly add the two eggs to the warmed (not scalding hot) milk. (You might want to enlist the help of a friend because you must continue beating the mixture as the eggs are added.) Add cinnamon sticks and continue beating for approximately 10-15 minutes until the mixture is creamy, hot and smooth.
- Once it’s ready to serve, add your shot of Colombian rum, or brandy, serve in cups and enjoy!
Date Published: December 15, 2012
All recipes have been tested by the KimSunée.com Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.