When it comes to the art of celebration, the first beverage that usually comes to mind is Champagne—bubbly, effervescent, and fun to share amongst friends and family. In Haiti, however, the celebratory alcoholic drink of choice is a decadent, creamy concoction—with cinnamon, nutmeg, sweetened condensed milk, coconut, sometimes raisins, and lots of rum. Crémas (also known as krémas or crémasse) is an “eggless nog,” often compared to the popular Puerto Rican beverage Coquito, but it is truly in a league of its own.
“We like to think of LS Cream as the Black alternative to Bailey’s [Irish Cream],” says LS Cream Liqueur co-founder Myriam Jean-Baptiste, “but also as a product that fills a gap in the market. There are no cream liqueurs that cater to a professional, diverse, and culture-driven audience.”
LS Cream Liqueur, launched by Jean-Baptiste with her husband Stevens Charles in 2014, is a cream liqueur that pays homage to the traditional Haitian krémas. Both of Haitian descent from Montreal, Jean-Baptiste and Charles both grew up watching their grandmothers, mothers, and aunts spend several hours preparing this iconic homemade recipe. While celebrating the holidays with friends in 2013, Jean-Baptiste and Charles knew they had to find a way to capture the taste of krémas. They transformed the flavors into a cream liqueur, making sure to stay true to its Haitian roots. When Charles asked his family for the recipe, he was handed a Ziplock bag and inside was a piece of paper with his late grandmother’s handwriting. As in most Haitian households, the recipe for crémas has been passed on from generation to generation.
“The goal was not to replicate, but to be inspired by our family recipe,” Jean-Baptiste says. Krémas is a drink traditionally enjoyed at weddings, birthdays, and social gatherings. It evokes happiness, joy, and a sense of belonging. The first sip of LS Cream is silky and provides enough warmth to make you feel like you’re right at home in the Caribbean.
Rum is a spirit found throughout many islands of the Caribbean. From Bermuda to Barbados, rum is the base of countless cocktails. Beyond the punches and the piña coladas, rum is also the foundation for many cream liqueurs. Rum Chata, Ricura and Wray & Nephew are just a few of the many rum creams that are not only savored alone but known to enhance coffee and desserts.
In Haiti, ”Clairin”, a native rum, is used to make traditional crémas. It is strong in flavor and has a longer distillation process. LS Cream, specifically, is made with neutral grain alcohol. The distillation process is shorter, and leads to a highly concentrated, clear, unscented, and pure spirit, which is what the founders wanted to achieve.
When initially working on the formula, chemists told Jean-Baptiste and Charles that it would be challenging to produce a stable product that didn’t expire because of the crémas dairy component and its thickness. Not letting that stop them, they tested different formulas and came up with a final dairy-free product. While the recipe is under lock and key, it still includes legendary notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, coconut, and vanilla, keeping the essence of their Haitian heritage.
LS Cream is versatile—and can be consumed by itself on ice, with coffee, in a cocktail, or even in dessert. “In a world where cream liqueurs are suggested to be enjoyed only during the holidays, LS Cream Liqueur breaks those barriers by being an undeniable compliment to multiple cocktails but mostly by being easily enjoyed by itself,” Jean-Baptiste says.
And it seems they are achieving their mission. Over 40,000 bottles of LS Cream have been sold in the last five years between Quebec, New York, and Florida—all by self-distribution. The brand has also won multiple awards for the quality of their product. Jean-Baptiste says, “We want our consumers to enjoy a glass of LS Cream Liqueur and let the Caribbean way of life engulf their senses.”