5 1/4 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup instant masa
1 1/2 ounces Mexican spiced chocolate (1/2 circular tablet) or semisweet chocolate, or 1 cup fresh puréed fruit, such as apples, pears, cranberries, or strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 or 4 drops vanilla extract
Pinch cinnamon
1 or 2 whole cloves
12 ounces evaporated milk

Bring 4 cups water and cinnamon stick to boil in large saucepan. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Remove cinnamon stick. Gradually blend masa into 1 1/4 cups water until smooth; strain through sieve into cinnamon water. Add chocolate or puréed fruit, sugars, vanilla, and spices. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture has thickened, add milk. Cook until hot, stirring constantly. Add more water or milk for thinner drink. Serves 6 to 8.

Featured in “Liquid Assets” Domain, November/December 1989.