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Mixing with Milk, Cream and Other Dairy Products
There are many of us who love a luscious milk or cream cocktail every now and then. They are comforting and relaxing and the flavor possibilities are nearly endless. From creamy chocolate cocktails to fruity dessert martinis, creamy drinks are a joy, a treat and a ton of fun to shake up.
Creating the Best Creamy Cocktails
Not every dairy cocktail relies heavily on milk, cream, or half & half. In fact, many use a just small pour that simply adds a rich texture to the drink.
There is, however, a set... of drinks that are dominated by dairy. The White Russian is a perfect example and many of these are served over ice in an old-fashioned glass, a style of drink often referred to as lowballs. In these drinks, you can decide whether you want to use milk, cream or half and half.
- Cream will produce a rich drink and is often used in small quantities.
- Milk will create the lightest drinks and will vary from greatly whole to skim milk.
- Half & half is in between the two. It is, after all, a mix of cream and milk.
- Heavy cream is used on occasion to produce rich drinks or as a topping.
The key to any dairy cocktail is, of course, freshness. Keep an eye on the expiration dates and when in doubt, give your milk or cream the sniff test. If something seems even a little off, don't mix it into your cocktail. Sour milk may have its uses in baking, but you will be wasting perfectly good liquor on a sour drink.
It's also best to serve these creamy cocktails immediately after mixing. The cold drinks should be extra cold and the hot drinks should be nice and toasty. You can help keep them at the ideal temperature longer by matching your glass temperature to the drink.
Dairy Cocktails Are Not For Everyone
Mixed drinks with dairy products are not for everyone. Obviously, there are those with allergies or an intolerance to lactose and they should avoid the drinks in the following lists. There are also drinkers who simply do not like milk or are opposed to alcohol touching any dairy product.
If you fall into either of these categories, there are plenty of other mixed drinks in the world to enjoy. For everyone else, let's explore the rich, creamy taste of a few milky cocktails...Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
Milk cocktails are some of the easiest to mix up at home because it's already right there in the fridge! Many of these drinks use milk for its creaminess and rely heavily on the ingredient. They are also quite diverse, from creamy lowballs to sweet martinis and they're fun to explore.
A few of these recipes call for specialty milk products such as soy or evaporated milk, though, for the most part, the milk that is sitting in your refrigerator will do. Also, if you prefer, feel free to use an... alternative such as rice, almond, or even cashew milk. You may need to make a few adjustments to the recipe, but they typically do a very good job.
Milk on the Rocks
Milk will most often be found in simple drinks served over ice. These lowball cocktails often use just one or two liquors and are topped with milk. They are the perfect casual drink when you want something easy and creamy and they do make a fine nightcap.
Many of these drinks also give you the option between milk and cream. Use whichever you enjoy best or happen to have in stock.
Fancy Milk Cocktails
As you can see, bartenders love to play with milk when creating liquid replicas of our favorite desserts. It's the perfect ingredient that gives a drink that splash of sweetness without being too sweet.
Warm & Winter-Worthy Milk Cocktails
This little collection of drinks is perfect for winter parties. Many are traditional holiday cocktails that are meant to share the spirit of the season. Others are warm and inviting, perfect for a cozy night by the fire.
Warming milk takes patience and constant attention. You will want to heat it gently and just enough so that it is steaming. Stir it continually and avoid boiling. If your milk ends up too hot and begins to scald, throw it away and start again.
- Brandy Eggnog - brandy, simple syrup, egg
- Homemade Eggnog - brandy, sugar, vanilla, egg
- Snow Honey - cognac, clover honey, hot milk
- Texas Farm Nog - tequila, sherry, egg, heavy cream and raw milk
- Tom and Jerry - rum, brandy, egg, simple syrup, hot milk
- Vegan Eggnog - rum or brandy, tofu, turbinado sugar, vanilla extract, soymilk
Blended Milk Drinks
And now we come to the fun blender drinks! Milk is the perfect additive to create fresh smoothies with or without the booze and these tasty beverages are perfect for summer entertaining.Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Cocktails made with cream can be some of the thickest, richest, and most luscious you'll mix up in the bar.
For the most part, the recipes will say 'cream' and you have a few options , though a few do suggest a specific style of cream. For that generic cream reference, I tend to go with light cream or half and half because the heavy creams are often, well, too heavy.
Popular Cream Cocktails
Cream cocktails include some of the best drinks ever created. If you're looking for a sure winner that... has pleased the palates of drinkers for many years, any of these recipes will do the trick.
- Brandy Alexander - brandy, chocolate liqueur
- Friar Tuck #1 - Frangelico, chocolate liqueur
- Grasshopper - chocolate and mint liqueurs
- New Orleans Fizz - gin, lemon and lime juices, simple syrup, egg, fleurs d'orange
- Nutty Irishman - Frangelico, Irish cream
- Orgasm Cocktail - coffee, amaretto and Irish cream liqueurs
- Peppermint Patty - peppermint schnapps, chocolate liqueur
- White Russian - vodka, coffee liqueur
Fancy Cream Cocktails
Should a decadent and unique dessert cocktail be what you're in the mood for, there is a recipe in this list that is perfect for you.
- Angel's Delight - gin, triple sec, grenadine
- Barbary Coast - gin, rum, scotch, chocolate liqueur
- Chocolate Spice Martini - chocolate vodka and liqueur, orange liqueur, spices
- Dark 'n Fluffy - marshmallow vodka, chocolate liqueur
- Goblet of Fire - Ty Ku, coffee liqueur, 151-proof rum
- Golden Cadillac - Galliano, white creme de cacao
- Golden Cappuccino Martini - coffee vodka, Galliano
- Golden Dream - Galliano, Cointreau, orange juice
- Pumpkin Fever - spiced rum, pumpkin liqueur, milk and cream
- Silk Stocking - tequila, Chambord, chocolate liqueur
- Talking Monkey - chocolate and coffee vodkas, banana and coffee liqueurs
- Wedding Cake - gin, amaretto, orange and pineapple juices
- White Chocolatini - vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur
Cream on the Rocks
Just like the milk on the rocks drinks, many of these lowballs can be made with either milk or cream. They are among the easiest drinks you can mix up and there is a great variety of flavors to choose from.
- Dirty Bird - vodka, coffee liqueur
- Dirty White Mother - brandy, coffee liqueur
- Frostbite - tequila, chocolate liqueur, blue curacao
- Ice Kaffe - vodka and vanilla vodka, coffee liqueur
- Irish Eyes - Irish whiskey, creme de menthe
- Peppermint Froth - vodka, peppermint schnapps, simple syrup
- (Spiked) Root Beer Float - vanilla vodka, Galliano, root beer
- Smith & Kearns - coffee liqueur, club soda, vodka (optional)
- Snickertini - caramel vodka, chocolate, amaretto and Irish cream liqueurs
- Toasted Almond - amaretto and coffee liqueurs, vodka (optional)
- Vampire's Kiss - orange vodka, melon liqueur, pineapple juice, grenadine
- White Carnation - vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, soda
We cannot forget about those few party shots that require a dollop of cream. While some shooters leave a lot to be desired when it comes to taste, these are actually really good. Maybe just a little too good!Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07
Heavy or Double Cream Cocktails
Heavy cream is used to either create super rich cocktails or as a topping in the glass. These recipes are fun to mix up and a comforting delight to drink. Many are very cozy and are a delight for those cold winter nights.
- Cafe Brasileiro - cachaca, chocolate liqueur, hot coffee, simple syrup
- Hennessy Hot Coco - cognac, hot chocolate, spiced syrup, vanilla extract
- Peach Cobbler - peach vodka, hazelnut liqueur
- Pink Elephant - Amarula Cream, chocolate liqueur, merlot, raspberry puree
- Pink Squirrel -... creme de noyaux, creme de cacao
- Rum Holiday Eggnog - rum. egg, sugar, almond and vanilla extracts
- Texas Farm Nog - tequila, sherry, sugar, egg, raw milk
- White Christmas Dream - vodka, amaretto
Add a Fresh Whipped Cream
A fun twist to cream is found in the Cafe Brasileiro recipe above. The cream is infused with vanilla and used as a float to top off the drink. Flavored creams are easy to make and can be used in many other drinks, especially as an alternative to whipped cream topping in hot chocolate and coffee drinks.
To flavor cream, begin with a heavy cream (it's best for whipping) and add your flavoring ingredient of choice. Whip until everything is mixed.
Creams can be flavored with almost any ingredient in the bar and many in your kitchen.
Continue to 5 of 7 below.
- Add a dash of vanilla extract or a similar flavor extract like almond or peppermint.
- Use those flavored liqueurs in your bar to customize the cream flavor. Just a dash will do to begin with as you can always add more if needed.
05 of 07
Half and Half Cocktails
The drinks below call specifically for half and half, which is half cream and half milk (though modern standards do not adhere to this exact ratio). Half and half adds a richness to drinks that milk cannot, but it is lighter than even the lightest creams.
It is actually a great alternative for any of the other milk or cream cocktails in this collection.
Fancy Half and Half Cocktails
Delicious and tempting, the recipes in this collection are perfect for dessert. You might not even need any food for... the course because these drinks will take care of everything.
- Angel's Tit - chocolate and maraschino liqueurs
- Calabatini - tequila, pumpkin spice syrup
- Candy Cane - berry vodka, peppermint schnapps, creme de cacao, grenadine
- Chocolate Margarita - tequila, chocolate liqueur, orange and lime juices, chocolate bitters
- Floating on Cloud 9 - whipped vodka, strawberry liqueur
- Holiday Hopper - melon, mint and chocolate liqueurs
- Salted Caramel Rocky Road - Effen Salted Caramel Vodka, chocolate liqueur
- Spiced Pumpkin Cocktail - pumpkin vodka, Irish cream liqueur
- Strawberry Kiss - rum, Tequila Rose, chocolate liqueur
Casual Half and Half Drinks
Similar to the milk and cream drinks on the rocks, these lowballs are good for a nice, casual drink. In fact, you might even find that half and half is the better option for many of those other recipes because it is a nice balance of the two elements and creates spectacular drinks.Continue to 6 of 7 below.
06 of 07
Yogurt makes a very rare appearance in drinks, especially with those containing alcohol. Due to the density of yogurt, it is often blended into smoothies. In drinks like the Korean cocktail below, a more liquefied yogurt is used.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
While we are on the subject of cream, let's take a brief look at cream liqueurs. There are a number of options available and those listed below are just a sampling. The majority of cocktail recipes will specify a brand (or style in the case of Irish cream) to use.
With this list, I have linked to either a profile of the liqueur where you can find recipes or to recipes that use that particular liqueur.
- Amarula Cream - Amarula & Eve, Pink Elephant
- Irish Cream Liqueur
- RumChata Cream Liqueur
- Tequila... Rose - Black Rose Shooter, Pink Rose Margarita, Strawberry Kiss
- Trés Leches Cream Liqueur - Ménage a XXX
About Rum Cream
On yet another note, some recipes will call for 'rum cream' - a cream liqueur with a rum base. There are a number of options including Cruzan Rum Cream, Rumchata, Sangster's Original Jamaica Rum Crema, and El Dorado Rum Cream.
The only recipe I currently have for 'rum cream' is the Voodoo shooter.