How to Make Leite de Onça for Festas Juninas
In Brazil, the Festas Juninas are in full swing. Also known as the Festas de São João (in honor of St. John), these harvest celebrations are brimming with traditional costumes, dancing, music, food, and beverages. Brazilians show gratitude for the rural way of life and enjoy the fruits of the farmer’s labors.
The festas are a kind of county fair, with each region having its own version and traditions. In general, corn dishes are extremely popular, since the festas coincide with the second national harvest of sweet corn. In addition, you will find traditional Brazilian vendor food, from insanely garnished Brazilian hot dogs to a comforting bowl of pamonha.
When it comes to drinks during the festas, spiced cocktails are quite popular. Brazilian mulled wine is a favorite-a blend of red wine, warming spices, and orange peel. A similar (and much stronger) drink is made with cachaca (quentao de cachaca) in place of red wine and is also served hot.
Cold Drink for Festas Juninas
Another favorite beverage served during the Festas is called Leite de Onça, which translates to “Milk of the Jaguar.” There are many theories as to the origin of the name of this cocktail. The milk aspect is obvious when you see the drink, which is a creamy off-white thanks to its primary ingredient (which is, in fact, condensed milk).
The “jaguar” part of leite de onça is more mysterious, but it may exist as something of a warning that this is NOT your everyday glass of milk. It is quite potent, and its effects can sneak up on you if you’re not careful-not unlike a certain sleek feline predator stalking its prey.
Like quentão de vinho and quentão de cachaça, jaguar’s milk is garnished with cinnamon. The spice gives the cold, creamy drink a flavor similar to egg nog, but with a chocolatey undertone (thanks to cocoa liqueur).
Leite de Onça vs Alexander Cocktail
If you dabble in mixology, you will notice similarities between the Jaguar’s Milk drink and the classic Alexander Cocktail. Both use cream and chocolate liqueur or creme de cacao. However, the Jaguar’s milk version trades cognac for cachaca and adds the distinctly Brazilian touches of cinnamon and condensed milk.
How to Make Brazilian Jaguar’s Milk (Leite de Onça)
Jaguar’s milk for Festas Juninas (or any occasion) is very simple to make. For one glass of leite de onça, you will need just five ingredients:
- 1 oz Condensed milk
- 1 oz Chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva)
- 1 oz Cachaca
- 1 oz heavy cream
- Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks for garnish
Put your condensed milk, creme de cacao/chocolate liqueur, cachaca, cream, and a good scoop of crushed ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour into a glass. Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top and garnish with a whole cinnamon stick.
Jaguar’s Milk FAQs
Can You Blend Jaguar’s Milk?
Sure! It is traditionally shaken, but you could certainly put all your ingredients and some ice in a blender and make an icy version.
What If I Don’t Have Cachaca?
The cachaca is essential in the traditional Leite de Onca. However, there is nothing wrong with substituting a little spiced rum if you cannot find the Brazilian spirit anywhere.
Is There a Dairy Free Version of a Brazilian Alexander?
Certainly. You can enjoy a dairy-free version of the leite de onça by omitting the heavy cream and substituting the condensed milk with coconut cream or milk.
What Should You Eat with Jaguar’s Milk?
Leite de onça is a very rich and very sweet beverage. As such, it tends to pair better with lighter food options. Try it with a seasoned corn on the cob or a serving of bite-sized Brazilian cheese bread. Yuca fries are also delicious and healthier on the waistline than fried potatoes.
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