Thursday, August 14, 2014

What is Liqueur Mombin

I recently updated my SiscoVanilla at the Movies tumblr page in honor of the recently deceased Lauren Bacall with images from the Howard Hawks directed To Have and Have Not (1944) which starred Humphrey Bogart and a debuting 19-year old Lauren Bacall. Now I'll go into the movie in a later post, but one particular poster (which I have highlighted with the red box) in the scene where Bacall is first on screen stands out to me.

She is seated having drinks with Johnson (Walter Sande) when I notice a poster right above them that advertises something called Liqueur Mombin. My curiosity was piqued. What was Liqueur Mombin. Before I go into what the liqueur is, I want to touch upon what a mombin is.

The Mombin is a fruit from a plant that grows in tropical areas. It originally was found in the Americas and the Caribbean and was successfully transplanted to Africa. Now from what I could gather, there are two distinct types of mombin fruits: The Yellow Mombin aka the Hog Fruit (Spondias mombin L./Spondias lutea L.) and the Purple Mombin aka Spanish Plum (Spondias purpurea L.).

Now be honest, I don't know which one is used to make a liqueur out of, but from what I've read, it seems as if the Purple/Red varietal is the one that is the most popular of the two. Why do I say that? The Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products (NewCROP) quotes the following source: Yellow Mombin Spondias mombin L. Spondias lutea L. which quotes Morton, J. 1987. Yellow Mombin. p. 245–248. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL. Here is what was printed about the popularity of the Yellow Mombin:
The Sumac Family (Anacardiaceae)
The yellow mombin is less desirable than the purple mombin and is appreciated mostly by children and way-farers as a means of alleviating thirst. Ripe fruits are eaten out-of-hand, or stewed with sugar. The extracted juice is used to prepare ice cream, cool beverages and jelly. Some people make those of fair quality into jam and various other preserves.

In Amazonas, the fruit is used mainly to produce wine sold as " Vinho de Taperiba". In Guatemala, the fruit is made into a cider-like drink.

Mexicans pickle the green fruits in vinegar and eat them like olives with salt and chili, as they do with the unripe purple mombin.

Young leaves are cooked as greens.
In terms of the Purple Mombin Spondias purpurea L., NewCROP quotes the same source Morton, J. 1987. Purple Mombin. p. 242–245. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
Courtesy of Daley's Fruit
The ripe fruits are commonly eaten out-of-hand. While not of high quality, they are popular with people who have enjoyed them from childhood, and they serve a useful purpose in the absence of "snackbars". In the home, they are stewed whole, with sugar, and consumed as dessert. They can be preserved for future use merely by boiling and drying, which keeps them in good condition for several months. The strained juice of cooked fruits yields an excellent jelly and is also used for making wine and vinegar. It is a pleasant addition to other fruit beverages.

In Mexico, unripe fruits are made into a tart, green sauce, or are pickled in vinegar and eaten with salt and chili peppers.

The new shoots and leaves are acid and eaten raw or cooked as greens in northern Central America.
If you are curious about the source material, you can click on the following link for Fruits of Warm Climates by Julia F. Morton on the The Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products (NewCROP) website.

Now that we know what a Mombin is, let's focus on the Liqueur Mombin. Look at the images below.

This particular kind of Liqueur Mombin, which is produced by Distellerie ReimonenQ is a blend of Rhum, sugar and mombin extract. It is not a very strong liqueur at 25% Alc.Vol or 50 Proof. It seems to have a nice subtle yellow/orange color. The label with the Corsair is kind of cool.

Another brand of Liqueur Mombin is the Madras brand from Guadeloupe and they describe their Liqueur Mombin as being:
Made from the very exotic fruit Mombin, this liqueur can be savoured as a digestive or can be used for cocktails. 
They list the alcohol content at 18% Alc/Vol or 36 Proof.

The real question is what does this taste like. That my friends will have to be for a later post. Maybe I should make a trip to one of the West Indian neighborhoods that are near me in the Bronx to see if I can maybe find a bottle. I'll get back to you on this one folks.

Until Then Happy Drinking,