If you’re from El Salvador you might well be familiar with the frozen treat, usually made from fruit, sugar and water and tightly wrapped in a small sandwich bag. The Charramusca is akin to an Italian Ice, and like the Italian Ice there’s really no boundaries in how to prepare one.
A common prep is with coconut, blended together with water, sugar and sometimes milk. Interesting right? Admittedly I have not had a Charramusca in a very long time, but that memory of visiting the bustling streets of El Salvador still linger.
In the spirit of summer, I wanted to make a Pina Colada, but I have already made the fermented Rye Pina Colada, and I have already figured out how to made a traditional Rum based Pina Colada better, so the next step is to break all the rules and find a recipe that will have the same form and ideas, but create something completely different.
There’s a moment in the thought experiment process when I reach for books to verify if my flavor combinations would work, I am already familiar with pairing cinnamon, and vanilla with coconut, but since I decided the drink won’t have any citrus or rather a sense of acidity, I do need to introduce an element of brightness to cut through the weighty flavors mentioned. The next question is the spirit that will be folded into the cocktail, naturally the inclination is to think of rum, but that’s easy. That’s obvious. So American Single Malt it is, specifically Westward Whiskey. I will start by saying that this is not a paid promotion, I sincerely really like Westward, and it struck me as an easy pairing, you have the vanilla and baking spice notes that match exactly what I’m looking for.
I’ve decided on the Whiskey, decided on the skeleton of the drink, the preparation is going to be frozen so I have to factor in water and temperature, what’s left is to figure out how to prep it together and give it a consistency of a traditional Charramusca.
Time to build layers. Coconut comes in a handful of forms such as, whole, just the flesh, the water, the water with pulp, milk, cream, and so on. Since this cocktail is a frozen drink so I don’t want to use more water than I need to, I’ll get plenty from the ice during blending, but I do need to build a syrup to give the drink the chance to get turn to slush. I also want to roast the coconut flesh to add to the layers of smoke present in Westward. Off I go to pan roast the coconut flesh on medium high heat to draw out the natural oils of the coconut, followed by coconut water fresh from the coconut (same coconut I’m cutting the flesh from) and cane sugar, let it all simmer until fully dissolved and cover and let rest until reaching room temperature. Now to work on the body of this drink, I bring coconut milk, not cream, to a simmer under low heat, add ceylon cinnamon, a vanilla bean split and scraped of its seeds, and eucalyptus. Yeah, that’s going to be the ingredient the rounds all of this out. Eucalyptus, it’s bright and fragrant, has an astringency about it but slightly hits like mint would, it’s just right to cut through the heavy flavors already present but still soft enough not to outshine any one particular note. Balance. Once the coconut is reaching a boil, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and allow to come down to room temperature.
Now all there is to do is batch these bases together, add the whiskey, followed by ice and blitz.
50 grams Roasted Coconut Flesh
150 grams Cane Sugar
150 grams Coconut Water
5 grams Dried Eucalyptus
200 grams Coconut Milk
1 piece Vanilla Bean split lengthwise and scraped of seeds
2 pieces Ceylon Cinnamon
500 ml Westward American Single Malt
Plenty of Ice!
There’s only really one way to serve a Charramusca, and that’s the way they do it in El Salvador, in a sandwich bag tied off and ready to drink with a straw.
(Well in reality people usually just bite off the bottom corner of the bag and drink from the tear, but since this is a blended drink I will just use a straw)