Thursday, June 13, 2019

Not your mother's milk . . .

I was surprised to read about an English vodka that's made from milk.

Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka is adored for its milk, floral, sweet and dry flavor notes.

This Vodka is carefully distilled at Black Cow distillery, England.

[A reviewer noted:]  Not a big vodka fan, but this one is special. Extremely smooth and the texture is creamy. Great in Vodka Tonic and definitely a shine bright in martini even as replacement in some Gin cocktails.

I suppose it's not too far-fetched, when you consider that you can make alcohol from almost anything!  Milk has been used in traditional alcoholic drinks for centuries.  For example, I've never tasted Mongolian airag or kumis, made from fermented mare's milk, but I know they have a long history.  Arkhi, a traditional liqueur, is distilled from airag.  I daresay a stronger or more modern distilling process could refine it further, to produce something like vodka.

However, I wouldn't try that with the Masai tribal drink of east Africa.  I've had occasion to sample the stuff - not by choice, believe me, but it would have been politically incorrect in the extreme to refuse it.  There's a reason why European travelers in Africa tend to pop Ciprofloxacin capsules like they were candy, every single day, along with Imodium and Pepto-bismol.  Some diarrheas really can kill you!

Milk has a prominent role in the traditional Maasai diet, since it is an integral part of almost every meal of Maasai shepherds; it is drunk when fresh, curdled, mixed with tea or in the form of butter; the latter is used to feed children during the period of their growth.

The Maasai usually have a drink obtained by mixing milk with bovine blood; the blood is obtained by making an incision in a cow’s jugular artery with surgical precision, in this way it is possible to collect a reasonable quantity of blood without killing the animal; the wound will heal up within a few days.

Blood mixed with milk is used as a ritual drink in special celebrations or given to sick people to foster the healing process.

Milk is also left to ferment with blood, and sometimes with bovines’ urine; this is done by using pumpkins, emptied of their pulp, as containers; these natural amphoras act as “fermentation chambers” for milk that, thanks to high daytime temperatures, turns into a kind of thick, sour and dark-colored yoghurt, due to the coagulated blood.

There's more at the link.

Milk fermented with blood and cow urine is not my first recommendation for a thirst-quenching drink.  (How do I know this?  Trust me.  As an old Africa hand, I know this.)  I also don't recommend it for distilling into vodka.  Some things are just too ghastly to contemplate!



kurt9 said...

You can have milk and bourbon, the preferred drink of the Kzinti

Obligato said...

Back in the 80s I worked for an industrial alcohol trader, one of their main products was pure ethyl alcohol made by an Irish cheese manufacturer from their whey byproduct. The main customer was the biggest UK producers of gin and vodka. I'm talking hundreds of thousands of litres per month here.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Creativity and improvisation at work.
...such as should be restricted to the arts and literature and not the culinary.

Beans said...

Had a friend who tried to make kumis from an old Mongolian family recipe (from a Mongolian friend of his.) Hint: kumis is best made on the arid steppes of Mongolia, not in a semi-cool house in humid, moldy, hot Florida.

The resulting chunk explosion when the top popped off was spectacular. Chunks in beard, in hair, in couch, on wall, on ceiling. He said even the annoying mosquitos were covered in curdled, fermented milk chunks.

As to drinking anything 'traditional', well, pasteurization is your friend.

Flugelman said...

An old shipmate's wife would order Chivas and milk regularly. Ugh...