Aliñao. Typical liquor from the eastern region of Cuba and its production occurs during the months of pregnancy of the future mother, but its consumption is not carried out until the desired birth has occurred . The appearance of this drink dates back to very remote times and its manufacture has been transmitted from generation to generation until today, when its ingestion constitutes a practice on occasions like that. This liqueur is made from fruits such as pineapple, currant , cherry, pumpkin , mangoand others that have the quality of staying in good condition for a long period, and undergo a cooking process in syrup and then pour alcohol. The mixture is deposited in a glass container, and is placed in a dry place for several months, a stage in which the liquor gradually acquires a characteristic flavor that is completed when bits of sugar cane are added.
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- 1 Origin
- 2 Tradition
- 3 Elaboration
- 1 Older recipes
- 4 The aliñao party
- 5 Sources
Aliñao toast when a born baby in the family is an ancient tradition that still lingers in the East of Cuba , especially in the provinces of Granma and Holguin .
The arrival of a baby in the family is always a reason for immense joy. In eastern Cuba, it is a tradition that when an event like this occurs, a toast is made with “aliñao” to welcome the newborn and celebrate the happiness of the parents.
The rite of offering it after the birth of the child spread throughout the national territory and today takes on special nuances, as assured by the chef of international cuisine Orlando Castillo Fleita, vice president of the Culinary Association in the province of Las Tunas .
Aliñao is a sweet, fruit-based alcoholic drink traditionally used as a toast to the birth of a baby.
It begins to form part of the tradition in the last years of the 18th or early 19th century, in the area of today’s Granma province, that is, Bayamo, Manzanillo, Jiguaní, etc.
It arises from the innovation that the slaves made of a spirit drink called agualoja, which was approved by its owners to be consumed at the parties of the day of kings.
This agualoja was made by boiling cinnamon, anise and fig leaves with pylon sugar or cane scrap. To this strained and already cold broth was added brandy.
To the aforementioned drink, the slaves of the Milanese family, from Bayamo, began to add fruit sweets in syrup in small pieces and dried prunes or sweets from the remains of the meals offered to the masters. This became the seasoned agualoja, that is, aliñao, which over time and with some modifications became the traditional drink before the birth of a baby.
In the eastern part of Cuba , especially in the Granma province , when a woman becomes pregnant and decides that she is going to be a mother, along with the basket or trousseau of the future baby, the family begins to prepare a special drink called “Aliñao”.
At the birth of the baby and being transferred home after a brief stay in the hospital , the family celebrates the birth of the child by giving visitors a glass of aliñao, as a sign of appreciation, courtesy and expression of good family customs, which has place in a healthy and friendly environment . If the baby is female, keep a bottle, which will be uncorked upon reaching the age of 15, by which time the drink will have become a fruit syrup , which will be mixed with more alcohol and will be offered to those present , who generally witnessed the first steps of the honoree.
Container to prepare the aliñao
It is made from fruits such as pineapple, currant, cherry, green pumpkin fruit, green mango and others that have the quality of keeping in good condition for a long period, and undergo a cooking process in syrup. and then alcohol is poured, you can not miss the pineapple pieces, plums, cherries, grapes. The mixture is deposited in a glass container, and is placed in a dry place for several months, a stage in which the liquor gradually acquires a characteristic flavor that is completed when bits of sugar cane are added.
According to her account, Nora Herminia Mesa Toledo, an artisan who has made aliñao her specialty, her roots are so remote that their origin is lost in time, and she is the depository of the oldest recipe. Previously, a large quantity of plums with abundant mass was selected, then they were boiled for 5 minutes and after draining them overnight, they were “drowned” in cane brandy for 45 days.
Other ways to prepare the dressing
At the end of this time they began to drain again one or two more days and at the end of this day a syrup was cooked to which cinnamon and fig leaves were added and the plums were immersed in it. The aliñao was prepared using as a base the cane brandy in which the plums had been drowned, to which – already almost turned into a broth, the fruits cooked in syrup were added, and if the container of the content was buried it was much better . Today the original recipe has been transformed over time and each one performs it in a particular way, but the essence has not been lost.
Without special recipes or the obligation to make a certain amount, the aliñao mixes numerous fruits with syrup and alcohol, to become a delicate drink that celebrates the birth of children and other special occasions until it becomes necessary.
In any case, pregnancies and happy deliveries remain as the fundamental reasons for making this distinguished drink.
The aliñao party
As part of a national tour, in the first steps for a new cultural project, singer-songwriter Raúl Torres interacted with creators and residents of the town of Julia , in the municipality of Bayamo .
After the emotional show that he offered to his countrymen in September 2010, Torres returned to Julia, where he was born in 1966, with the intention of creating “La fiesta del aliñao”, an initiative through which he intends to contribute to the cultural revival of the community . The author of Snow Candil told the press that the project will take place annually, in November , with a duration of two or three days.
The objective, he stressed, is to ensure that the idea takes root in the town and its people, favoring the promotion of indigenous cultural values . Torres added that “La fiesta del aliñao” has above all a sentimental motivation, since he feels very identified with the Julia community, in which he enjoyed many of his vacations , along with cousins, uncles and other relatives.