Christmas in Panama


Yadira Stamp

Ron Ponche (Panamanian Eggnog)

Homemade eggnog and sorrel (hibiscus flower) with ginger are two traditional Christmas drinks in Panama.

The eggnog was simmered on the stove for hours to get the right consistency and “cooking the eggs” was not an issue. December 24th is National Homemade Eggnog Day. This is my recipe for a spiked eggnog (Ron Ponche).

The sorrel had a lot of ginger and sugar. Those with a West Indian heritage, added cinnamon and cloves to their sorrel. My preference is just ginger and no spices.


1.In a heavy saucepan (no heat), whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt.

2. Stir in milk, one half cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Add vanilla and nutmeg. Heat slowly, over lowest possible heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon, for about half hour. (Note: Make sure not to allow to boil to prevent it from curdling.)

3. Remove from heat and pour eggnog through a fine mesh strainer and into a large bowl. Stir in rum. Let cool for 10 minutes and using a funnel, slowly pour into a gallon bottle and store in the refrigerator to chill preferably overnight, or at least 4 hours.

4.Serve garnished with a cinnamon stick and some fresh grated nutmeg.

Chef JJ Johnson on Identity

A barber with clippers; a writer and a favorite pen…a chef and a knife.