When you hear (edible) seaweed, maybe your mind may run to nori, that dark stuff that wraps sushi, or even mistakenly, the stinky stuff that washes up on the shores of Mesoamerica as the pesty sargassum. However, if you’ve ever visited Belize, you might be biased to think of the sweet, spiced, and creamy seaweed shakes served year-round out of roadside coolers and Belizean supermarket fridges. Not to mention, this heritage drink is also a symbol of Belize’s sustainable underwater farming initiatives that are soaring in the south as covered by this recent BBC article. We’ve got just the (spiked) recipe to try the world’s newest ‘superfood’ of sea moss (Eucheuma isiforme), using Traveller’s Liquors Tropical Brandy.
Sea Moss, Irish Moss, or Seaweed: Eucheuma Is A Cultural Staple On Belize’s Coast
Mineral-packed and a mainstay of an ‘alkaline diet’, sea moss seems to be the latest rage in the wellness world these days—think Hailey Beiber and California health food store Erewhon Market’s whopping US$17 skin-loving smoothie—but it’s nothing new to the coastal communities of Belize, especially Placencia. Stroll along the pedestrian-only Placencia Sidewalk and you’ll find a number of restaurants serving seaweed shakes. Strike up a conversation with a local and you’ll quickly see it’s more than just a drink.
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There’s a Placencia Seaweed Co-operative on the Peninsula, while Little Water Caye is a hub for the floating farm of red seaweed—Eucheuma and Gracilaria—which is done sustainably, unique to Belize. Besides promoting biodiversity as a natural nursery, the aqua farm gets its nutrients from the water’s depth and temperature to sustain repeated crops. According to stats first shared by Vice, it’s estimated that out at Little Water Caye, a single rope yields about thirty pounds of hand-planted seaweed, which gets harvested every three months; ten ropes are for harvesting and selling, but the last is saved to use as seed stock for the next crop cycle.
Beyond Being Delicious, Belizean Seaweed Is Also Nutritious
Jam-packed with essential protein and dietary fiber, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium. It’s the perfect refresher after a long day of scuba diving, snorkeling, lounging in the sun, and even after the gym.
“Just to give you a little comparison, low-fat milk contains only 125 mg of calcium as compared to 329.69 mg in our favorite seaweed,” notes Lyra Sprang, a local food anthropologist.
But alas, this is the Caribbean, and we love our rum! Bump this Belizean blended shake up a notch with a shot of golden rum, like Travellers Liquors’ Belizean Rum or even Tropical Brandy. The result? A frothy, smooth seaweed shake swirling with nutmeg and coconut as a tropical, Belizean treat.
- 5 grams dried Belizean seaweed OR 6 tbsp. prepared seamoss
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tbsp. condensed milk
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 oz. Travellers Liquors Tropical Brandy
Begin by rinsing the seaweed to remove sea salt and other debris. Allow the seaweed to soak for 30 minutes or until soft or gelatin-like in appearance. You can also boil it to soften the seaweed. Add seaweed to the blender. If you have prepared seamoss, skip these steps above and add your 6 tablespoons to the blender.
Pour in evaporated milk. Add sweetened condensed milk, nutmeg, Tropical Brandy, and a dash of cinnamon to suit your taste. Blend all ingredients until smooth! Store the seaweed shake in the refrigerator and shake well before serving. For a creamier and sweeter shake, add frozen fruit, like bananas!
Evaporated milk may be substituted for half-and-half. Although brandy is more common and traditional than rum, Travellers Liquors Belizean Rum works perfectly; it all depends on your preference!