Milk Washing Cocktails: Everything You Need To Know About It
Image Credit: Unsplash

Mixology is probably the only field in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry that allows bartenders to experiment with the recipes as much as they want. Modifying recipes and experimenting with centuries-old practices has now made the cocktail-making process spread wide across several cultures and traditions.

One such practice that has been popular since the 18th century is milk washing. The sound of adding milk to all the cocktails might sound a bit off-putting at first, but it is a proven technique that enhances the flavours of the cocktails. Here’s everything you need to know about milk washing, from its to the steps to master the art.

Brief History Of Milk Washing

The traces of milk washing can be traced back to the 18th century. The technique was really popular back then as earlier; the spirits weren’t as smooth and refined as they are now. 

While experimenting, the bartenders noted that whenever they added milk to alcohol, there was an interesting separation process that was used to soften the drink. Thus, the technique of milk washing was carried out to amplify the flavours of alcoholic beverages.

The Science Behind Milk Washing

You might ask yourself, what exactly happens when some milk is added to a freshly prepared cocktail? Well, the science behind milk washing is based on the interaction of proteins in milk and the molecules present in a cocktail. When milk is added to an acidic environment, like the citrus cocktails, the milk proteins break down and bind to certain flavour compounds in the drink, forming a curd-like structure. 

The cocktail is then strained to get rid of the curdled compounds to get a smooth and flavour-enhanced drink. You should also note that milk washing doesn’t leave any foul smell or taste in your drink. After years of milk washing, it has been found that the technique works best with white spirits like vodka, tequila, rum, etc.

Steps To Milk Wash A Cocktail

  1. Take milk and a glass of cocktail in a 1:6 milk-to-cocktail ratio.
  2. Ensure that your cocktail has a citrus ingredient like lemon juice or orange bites. Then, pour the zesty cocktail into the milk.
  3. You’ll notice that the milk starts to curdle. There’s no need to worry; that’s exactly what should happen.
  4. Set the cocktail aside for a few hours till the curdling process is completed.
  5. Now, strain the curdled substance and transfer the rest of the drink into a cocktail glass.
  6. Add some ice cubes to the milk-washed cocktail and enjoy.
  7. You can also refrigerate it for a few days for later use as the milk washing increases its shelf life.