This month, I explored the origins of a traditional remedy, a type of “energy drink” you may have never heard of before!
Short for candy and egg, Candié is the Spanish name given to a beverage born out of the old English tradition of mixing sherry and eggs. Candié became popular in Cuba in the 1940s and while the traditional way of consuming this drink has faded over time, its memories are still engraved in local Cubans and also in various corners of history. In Jerez Spain, in the mid XX century, Candié was traditionally served as a “restorative tonic” to calorie-needed individuals.
At several stages throughout its history, the drink became so wildly enjoyed that it was often featured in iconic pieces of literature such as William Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor and Charles Dickens’ novels Dombey and Son (1848) and Little Dorrit (1855-57). A few years later Jerry Thomas shares the recipe for a Sherry Flip in his 1887 version of How To Mix Drinks describing it as a “very delicious drink” that “gives strength to delicate people”.
Candié was also referenced several times in pop culture; there are references to this drink in Hollywood movies, such as The Plainsman (1936) and Dark Waters (1944).
President George Washington was also known to champion a Candié-like “Christmas Eggnog” combining one quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, ½ pint rye whiskey, ½ pint Jamaica rum, ¼ pint sherry.
Finally, I found out that several English soccer clubs allowed their players to drink this energy drink right before their games!
Cuba and its Candié Heritage
In the 1940s, the drink made its way to Cuba via one possible ‘carrier’, a gentleman named Vitorino Vásquez Varela. Varela was a beverage distribution company owner who converted his entire family (and most of the island’s inhabitants) to the benefits of the libation.
During this time, the recipe was commonly prepared with Pedro Ximenez Viña 25, a sweet sherry produced by the Domecq family (now a brand property of Lustau). As per its tradition, this rich tonic was used to feed and treat the weaker members of the household.
Many older Cuban locals remember taking the drink in their early days and recall that it gave them strength and kept them warm!
This is definitely an energy drink we can get behind!