Haitian Cremas

27.10.20 | Recipe by Renz

The holidays call for drinks you can sip slowly with your family. This Haitian cremas is just that. This sweet and creamy drink flavored with spices is just what you need to entertain your guests while spending some holiday time.


Two glasses filled with ice and creamy cremas.

Christmas time in the Caribbean is a very festive time. All the islands are filled with a lot of traditions that also include the food we make.

Cremas is the traditional Haitian drink they enjoy during the holiday time.

It is a sweet drink that is creamy and smooth. It is a blend of condensed milk, coconut cream, simple syrup, and spices.

A lot of the drinks are a bit common across the islands. A lot of the islands have their own drink that is enjoyed around Christmas time. Cremas is very similar to ponche de creme from Trinidad and Tobago. It is also a cousin to the Puerto Rican coquito. It may just have a different name and varying methods of making.

Cremas is a Christmas drink that belongs to Haiti. And it packs its weight in delicious creamy liquor drinks categories.

It is not just a beverage in Haitian culture; it is a symbol of tradition, togetherness, and celebration. Its rich history and cultural significance make it a beloved and cherished part of Haitian cuisine.



What is cremas?

Cremas, also known as Haitian cremas or cremasse or Kremas, is a beloved and culturally significant drink in Haiti. This creamy and sweet beverage is often enjoyed during special occasions and festive celebrations.

The base of this sweet drink is made with a combination of ingredients such as coconut cream, condensed milk, and cream of coconut. Cremas boasts a unique flavor profile that is both rich and indulgent. The addition of lime juice and lime zest lends a refreshing and tangy note to the drink.

To enhance the taste, it also incorporates traditional spices like star anise and cinnamon sticks, which infuse the beverage with warm and aromatic undertones. The use of rhum Barbancourt, an iconic Haitian alcoholic beverage, adds a delightful kick to this popular drink.

Importance of this drink

Cremas not only pleases the palate but also holds significant cultural value in Haiti. It embodies the essence of Haitian celebrations and gatherings, bringing people together in joyous moments.

This creamy and sweet beverage is deeply rooted in the traditions and history of the Haitian people.

It is particularly associated with special occasions and festive seasons in Haiti. One notable celebration is Ancestry Day, where Haitians honor their ancestors and their fight for freedom. During this time, families come together and share a glass of cremas, symbolizing unity and remembrance of their roots.

Another important event where the drink takes center stage is Haitian Independence Day. This commemoration of Haiti's freedom from colonial rule is celebrated with great enthusiasm and pride. Cremas is a staple drink during these festivities, representing the resilience and strength of the Haitian people.

Whether it's sipped from glass bottles or homemade renditions, cremas has gained popularity for its creamy consistency, beige color, and delectable taste. Its unique blend of ingredients and spices truly captures the essence of Caribbean culture and delights the senses of all who partake in it. 

Ingredients needed to make Haitian cremas

The process of making this delicious drink varies from region to region but the base ingredients are usually very similar. The process is basically mixing all your ingredients together to make a combined, flavor-filled drink.

Ingredients needed to make cremas layed out on a brown table.

The ingredients you will need are:

  • Rum. I used dark rum. Actually used rhum barbancourt. But see the notes section on substitutions that can be used for the alcohol in this recipe.
  • Granulated sugar - You can also use brown sugar. Just know that it will darken the color of your drink a bit.
  • Kinds of milk: Sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream of coconut (if you do not have this on hand see my notes for how you can make a substitute amount for use. Please note this is not coconut cream and it cannot be used instead.)
  • Spices: Cinnamon sticks and powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, lime zest, vanilla extract or almond extract, star anise (optional)

How to make Haitian Cremas

Remember, making homemade kremas is a labor of love, so take your time and enjoy the process.

Step 1:

For mine, I make a simple syrup which helps the sugar blend in easier. You don’t have lumps of sugar since it’s already dissolved in the process of making the syrup. So add the sugar and cinnamon stick to the water in a saucepan and simmer till the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar dissolves, remove it from the heat and set it to cool.

Step 2:

Once that syrup is made and cooled, it is just to mix in the rum, the kinds of milk (evaporated, condensed, and cream of coconut). Make sure you are adding them in with a steady flow since we want it to be smooth.

Step 4

Once combined, add in the additional spices (vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, lime zest) and combine well.

Once that is done, I like to leave it to sit for a few hours or overnight before that first taste to allow the flavors to meld and develop fully. so that all the flavors can really mesh together.

When ready to serve, give the bottle a gentle shake, pour it into glasses, sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top, and savor this creamy and flavorful Haitian drink.

Storage Tips

Properly storing and reserving cremas is important to maintain its quality and flavor for an extended period. Once you've made this delicious beverage, follow these simple tips:

  1. Refrigeration: After making, it is best to store it in the refrigerator. Keep the bottle tightly sealed to prevent any air from entering and affecting the taste. Opened bottles can be refrigerated for up to 12 months, but check for any signs of spoilage before consuming.
  2. Carbonation: Occasionally, cremas may become carbonated during storage. If you notice any fizziness or bubbling, it is an indication that fermentation has occurred, and the drink should not be consumed. Discard any that has become carbonated.
  3. Natural Separation: Over time, natural separation may occur, resulting in a layered appearance. This is normal and happens due to the settling of ingredients. Before serving, shake the bottle well to ensure the flavors are thoroughly mixed.

By following these storage and reserving tips, you can enjoy the delightful taste of this Caribbean drink for an extended period. Remember to refrigerate, check for carbonation, and give the bottle a good shake to savor the perfect creamy and flavorful Haitian drink.


Pouring mixed Haitian cremas into a clear glass with ice.

How to best serve Haitian cremas

When it comes to serving up some cremas, it's important to not only focus on the taste but also on the cultural significance and traditional practices. This creamy and festive drink holds a special place in Haitian culture and is often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations.

To make the experience truly authentic, presentation plays a key role. Serve it in traditional glass bottles, showcasing its rich beige color. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also pays homage to the customs and traditions of the Haitian people.

When serving, you can serve it chilled and well-shaken to ensure the flavors are evenly mixed. Encourage your guests to savor the sweet and creamy taste while appreciating the cultural significance behind this beloved drink.


If you're new to cremas or simply curious about this popular drink, you may have some questions. In this section, we'll address some frequently asked questions to help you learn more about cremas and its cultural significance. Read on to discover everything you need about this delicious and festive beverage.

What is the best type of rum to use?

The choice of rum plays a crucial role in enhancing the flavor and authenticity of this beloved beverage. While the traditional choice is Haitian Rhum Barbancourt, there are alternative options that can be used as well.

Haitian Rhum Barbancourt is a premium rum known for its exceptional quality and distinct taste. Made from sugarcane in Haiti, it brings a unique flavor profile to the cremas, adding depth and richness to the overall experience. Its smoothness and subtle sweetness complement the other ingredients, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

However, if it's not readily available, you can still create a delicious drink using alternative spirits. Clear rum, such as white or silver rum, can be a suitable substitute. It provides a lighter and more neutral flavor, allowing the other ingredients to shine.

Another option is to use vodka, which is a clear spirit that doesn't add any specific flavor notes. This can be a good choice if you prefer a milder taste or want to avoid the distinct profile of rum.

Whichever rum you choose, it's important to remember that the selection should align with your personal taste preferences. Experimenting with different types of rum can add a fun twist to the traditional Haitian recipe while still maintaining its essence and honoring Caribbean culture. So go ahead and raise a glass of cremas with the rum that suits your palate.

Creamy glass of cremas filled with ice and ready to serve.

Are there eggs in Haitian Kremas?

One interesting aspect of this creamy, sweet beverage is that it does not typically contain eggs. This makes it a great option for those following a vegan lifestyle or for individuals with egg allergies.

The omission of eggs is significant. Eggs are a common ingredient in many creamy drinks and desserts, as they help to thicken and add richness. However, in traditional Haitian culture, eggs are not typically used in this particular beverage. Instead, the creaminess and texture are achieved through the combination of coconut milk, condensed milk, and cream of coconut. These ingredients work harmoniously to create a satisfyingly smooth and velvety drink.

For those seeking a vegan alternative, there are a few simple modifications that can be made. Instead of using condensed milk, a vegan condensed milk substitute can be used. There are several brands available that are made from plant-based ingredients such as soy or almond milk. I personally use coconut milk version from Walmart. Additionally, instead of using cream of coconut, coconut cream can be used as a dairy-free alternative.

By omitting the use of eggs and providing vegan alternatives, this recipe allows everyone to enjoy the delightful flavors and cultural significance of Haitian Kremas, regardless of dietary restrictions. So next time you're in the mood for a creamy and festive drink, try out this vegan-friendly version of Haitian Kremas and experience the rich flavors of Haitian culture.

It is important to refrigerate the mixture overnight to allow the flavors to meld together and develop. This step is crucial in achieving the best taste and consistency. Once chilled, your Vegan (Dairy-Free) Kremas is ready to be enjoyed.

With these substitutions, you can still indulge in the creamy and velvety texture of Kremas, while adhering to a vegan and dairy-free lifestyle. Cheers to a delicious and inclusive Haitian beverage!

How long does kremas last?

Kremas has a good shelf life if stored properly. Unopened bottles can last up to two years when stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. It is important to keep the bottles tightly sealed to maintain freshness.

Once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life. When refrigerated, Kremas can last between 9 to 12 months. However, it is crucial to keep the bottle tightly sealed to prevent any contamination and maintain the drink's quality.

Avoid storing near strong-smelling foods and spices, as it can absorb odors.

Enjoy Kremas within its recommended shelf life for the best taste and quality. Remember to check the bottle for any signs of spoilage or unusual odors before consuming. By following these storage guidelines, you can savor the delicious flavors for an extended period.

Can I substitute cream of coconut?

Cream of coconut is popular "Coco Lopez" which you can find in most stores/groceries. But you can also make this for yourself.

Use a can of full-fat coconut milk (or make your own coconut milk with less water than usual), with about a 1/2 cup sugar, on low heat stir until the sugar dissolves. For an added coconut taste you can add about 1 tablespoon of coconut milk powder while dissolving.

Overall, cremas is not just a beverage in Haitian culture; it is a symbol of tradition, togetherness, and celebration. Its rich history and cultural significance make it a beloved and cherished part of Haitian cuisine.

If you love this kremas recipe, please make sure to leave a rating in the recipe card below. 

Here are some more Caribbean Christmas recipes:

Check out some more Haitian recipes: