I’m not an eggnog person. I probably never even really tried it, but the thought of it – no way! So when I heard of a local homemade artisanal eggnog I was skeptical. But the amazing mom who makes it is known to be great in the kitchen, so maybe this was the time to finally give it a try! I was at a ladies shopping event at my boys nursery school and she had a table set up with samples. Perfect! I made my way over and tried the chocolate hazelnut….so this was like a milkshake but with alcohol. Does it get any better???? Because I am so picky (don’t like coffee and typical favorite flavors) I stuck with just the chocolate, but from what I overheard everyone saying, the other flavors may have been even better! So I wanted to know more. As a working mom of three kids – how do you come up with this unique and awesome idea? How is there time to make all of this? Anything new to look forward to in the future? So I went to Marielle for the answers!
Marielle grew up in a large family in the Dominican Republic, which means she grew up around a lot of cooking. Her mom, aunts and cousins were all cooks. However, as a kid, cooking didn’t interest Marielle very much. All she could make was spaghetti and cheese paste for her favorite “sandwichitos”.
After college, she moved to Miami and started cooking more, but still not much. That changed when her younger brother came to live with her. He disliked most of what she made and felt that the quantities were too small. They became members of a wholesale food club, and he made amazing dishes from scratch – everything from pork crackling to lasagna and everything in large quantities.
Inspired by her brother, she developed a love for cooking. She then began hosting holiday dinners at her place for friends and family. Most of her friends were also from the Dominican Republic, so she would make dishes that reminded everyone of life back on the island, like sweet plantain casserole. One of their favorite holiday drinks was traditional ponche, or eggnog. She made her mom’s almond ponche recipe every year, which made everyone nostalgic for the DR.
In 2010, her and her then-boyfriend, now-husband Andrew, moved to New York City. In 2016, after 8 years of busy city life, they moved to the ‘burbs’ with their three children. Here they found more time to socialize and make good friends. This past November, Marielle made her mom’s ponche again to prep for Thanksgiving. Her husband said it was so tasty that she should start selling it.
That seemed like a far-fetched idea. How would she be able to find time to manage her full-time job, three kids, and the house? She was skeptical, but then found some motivation when her cousin Laura told her about a class she had taken all about eggnog. This prompted her to experiment with different spice blends. She eventually settled on six flavors—chocolate hazelnut, dulce de leche, pistachio, coffee, gingerbread, and the original almond recipe from her mom.
She started handing out samples to friends and family, who encouraged her to bottle and sell it. And that is how Salute! Artisanal Eggnog was born. Like Marielle, there are a lot of people in the US that miss holiday traditions from the Dominican Republic. Salute! is her way of bringing a little bit of home in DR here to the States.
With no plans of slowing down, she is working on new flavors for next year and is excited to be working on a new product line of fruit liqueurs. Each Salute! Product is made with high-quality ingredients, no preservatives, and love. Cheers!
To order, email email@example.com or call 786.556.4021. Follow her on Instagram @ponchesalute