Tell us a little about yourself!
Hello my name is Monique and I am the creator of Reyes’ Traditional Puncha Creama. I am from Queens, New York born and raised. I am a Black Entrepreneur with a Dream. Single with no kids. I was introduced by my grandmother and mother to Puncha Creama. Christmas was the time of year that both my mom and grandma would spend hours in the kitchen making batches of Puncha Creama for the family get together. I think because of those times, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.
As a New Yorker, all I know is coquito. What is puncha creama and how does it differ?
You are right a lot of people do know mainly about Coquito in the New York area. I think because it is more vocalized by Spanish culture to the world. I believe Coquito is distributed more so in the Northeast area.
Puncha Creama which is also known to a lot of Caribbean (Trinidadian) households as Ponche de Creme. Its made with Condensed Milk, Evaporated Milk, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Lime peels, Angostura Bitters, and Rum for taste.
There are a few companies in Trinidad and Tobago that do mass distribution. I don’t know of any in the states. The difference between the two is Coquito’s main ingredient is made with coconut milk. Puncha Creama does not have that ingredient, but we do make ours with egg. Puncha Creama is a thicker drink, compared to Coquito.
What inspired you to start your business and how has it been for you during the COVID-19 era?
I actually just started my business this year, and I feel like COVID is the reason why Reyes’ Puncha Creama hit the ground running. I know that we are all dealing with the affects of this virus. We have been in a state of survival since March. I thought to myself that starting Reyes’ Puncha Creama was going to shine a light on a dim situation. I know that when I drink Puncha Creama, there is always a story of my family being together and filled with love. I wanted others to either reminisce about their times they had with their loved ones and create new memories with those they are quarantined with.
I was inspired by my family to create Reyes’ Puncha Creama . They were a driving force behind me. They knew how much I loved to make it and spread Joy around the Holiday Season, especially Christmas. I started out making it around Christmas for my friends and family. It was always a little bit of joy in a bottle that I could spread around. It was how I brought Christmas cheer to the ones I loved.
It brings me great joy to know that I made something, that was taught to me by my mom and grandma. I am so blessed to know that people can also share Reyes Puncha Creama, which is a piece of my family’s Trinidadian culture with their loved ones. It’s a delicious culture story.
How has sharing puncha creama helped bridge cultural gaps?
It definitely has brought culture awareness to the forefront. I would always have to explain the difference between the two amazing drinks coquito and puncha creama. It’s cool teaching my friends that are Spanish speaking about puncha creama. They have taught me a lot about their culture too. So I’m honored to teach them about mine. I have tons of people that love the taste and start asking questions. I only share my family history with it. That’s the one I know the best.
What advice do you have for small business owners?
The advice I have for small businesses is simply to stay consistent. If you really want your business to be successful, you have to eat, live and breathe it. You have to love what you are doing. There are no days off.
Connect with Reyes' Puncha Creama
AWM thoughts and thank you!
So far, the only thing I have been breaking my clean eating on is Reyes’ puncha creama. No lie. The first jar I got did not last a full 12 hours. I was supposed to take photos first before sampling. I thought I was going to take a few sips of the stuff, then photograph. I was wrong. I had to order another damn jar to shoot with. Seriously, it is that good.
Coquito and her puncha creama have similarities, but they taste different. I like the creaminess of her drink and the generous splash of rum “to taste lol”. But honestly I can’t tell which I like more. Coquito is good too, but if you want to change it up with a taste of Caribbean culture for the holidays, be sure to check her out on instagram. Tell her AWM sent you!
Monique! I am so glad to have stumbled across your IG page! It was super fun learning about your business and of course tasting THREE orders of puncha creama since we connected in the beginning of November. I wish you all of the success in your business.