If you speak Spanish, you will probably already chuckle a little about the strange name for a drink. If you don’t: It literally means “monkey’s tale”. But in this case, Cola de Mono has nothing to do with the rear end of a primate. It is the favorite Christmas drink of the Chileans.
The delicious, creamy cocktail consists of Pisco – Chile’s alcoholic national drink – milky coffee, sugar and some Christmas spices. Similar to a White Russian but with a special festive touch. The caramel-colored beverage is a nice combo of rich and sweet. The milky flavor balances the alcohol and gives it a smooth finish. At the same time, the coffee component makes it vivid while the spices add some warm Christmas feeling. Simply a perfect blend!
As Christmas is happening during Chile’s summer months, it is common with Chileans to enjoy the drink with ice cubes. Like this, the drink makes for the perfect fresh company to enjoy with the very sweet Pan de Pascua, a dense Chilean fruit cake traditionally eaten on Christmas.
Why is the drink called Cola de Mono?
Although there are several myths surrounding the name of the traditional Christmas punch, the most popular one involves the former Chilean President. President Pedro Montt – who governed the country at the beginning of the 1900s – once attempted to leave a house party in downtown Santiago but couldn’t find his Colt revolver. As he didn’t want to leave without it, he got convinced to stay for a little longer. Unfortunately all the wine was completely empty already but the party was still bumping and guests were thirsty. As an act of necessity, somebody simply poured some Pisco into a pitcher of café con leche, and voilà: Cola de Mono was born.
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But still why is it called “monkey’s tale? The new alcoholic blend was such a success with the guests, that they honorably called it “Colt de Montt” in reference to the hidden or lost gun. Over time, the drink spread across the country and grew in popularity with Chileans. Especially during summertime and thus, around Christmas, the milky cocktail became a staple at festivities. The more the nickname was used, the more it changed phonetically and finally ended up sounding like “cola de mono” or even “colemono”. The latter is a valid variation that many people also still use as a name for the traditional Christmas drink today. So after all, the name doesn’t even have any connection to an animal tail – but it makes the drink intriguing, nonetheless.
Now, if you want some alternation of the standard Eggnog or mulled wine, Cola de Mono is what you are looking for. Check out our traditional recipe below and you will be looking forward to some joyful and delicious holidays!
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Photos by restaurante kaialde