Milk based cocktails by Hardeep Singh Rehal from Blume cocktail bar, photos by Rasmus Poulsgaard

Toasting to a merry Christmas

Hardeep Rehal on milk in drinks

Why dream of a white Christmas when you might as well shake yourself a snow-white drink – or three – throughout December. All you need is to open your fridge and grab the… milk!

Milk in drinks is so much more than White Russians from the nineties, and that is why the Danish Dairy Board asked Hardeep Rehal, partner at Blume and owner of Cocktailsolutions.dk, to do his magic with some of the most common everyday products. Perhaps it is Hardeep’s background from DTU, that makes his approach to cocktails remind you a little of a chemistry section, where striking the right balance between base and acidity is key. As Hardeep explains it:

Hardeep Singh Rehal“Dairy products in drinks are not really that exotic. Everything you have in your kitchen can be used for drinks. The contents of your kitchen are in many ways the same ingredients you have in a bar. If you use milk, cream or butter in your drinks, you get a little natural sweetness (especially from the milk), and furthermore you get that special texture, mouth feeling and creaminess, which is hard to find. The dairy products add something basic, which only few other ingredients can. E.g. fruit drinks are often very acid heavy. “

If you want to try this at home, you can find some inspiration in the following three milky cocktails, where Hardeep in the first example used the milk in a salty flavor context, in the second as a counter to acid and lastly, where he has used milk whey.

Blume Black & White

“When you think of milk and cream, it’s tempting to just go sweet in your flavor pairing. So my point in the first drink is thinking the milk into the salty kitchen. I use black olives as a salty umami counter to milk’s fattiness and natural sweetness.

5 cl. vanilla Vodka
4 cl. Jersey Milk
3 cl. syrup/sugar layer
4-5 pcs. black olives

Vanilla Vodka: Take a vanilla dish, cut it lengthwise and put it in a bottle of vodka. Leave it for 24 hours and shake regularly. Syrup: Cook half sugar and half water together stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Put in the fridge.

Creating your drink: Smash the black olives in a mortar. Then bring the rest of the ingredients in the shaker together with ice cubes and shake hard for 25 seconds.

Pour the contents through an extra fine sieve into a lowball glass filled with ice cubes.

Garnish with a pair of black olives on top.

Hardeeps Nordic Milk Soda

This drink is all about using the milk as counter to acid in buckthorn.

5 cl. gin
5 cl. whole milk
3 cl. buckthorn syrup (frozen buckthorn and syrup/ sugar layer)
sparkling water

Buckthorn syrup: Half-frozen buckthorn and syrup is blended together. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve. Put aside in the fridge. Shake before use. It is important that the syrup/ sugar layer is cold before blending it with buckthorn, otherwise you lose the freshness and the acid from the buckthorns.

Now for your drink: Pour gin, buckthorn syrup and milk in a shaker together with ice cubes and shake for 20 sec. Pour the contents into a highball glass filled with ice cubes, and top it with sparkling water.

Nordic milk punch

This drink is based on whey, which you can easily create yourself by carefully warming milk with a few drops of lemon, and then it separates. Save the lumps and throw them in a blender with a little salt, then you have your own ricotta(!).

5 cl. dark rum
7 cl. whey
2 cl. freshly squeezed apple juice

Adjust with 1-2 cl sugar layer/syrup depending on how sweet the apple juice is

Bring all the ingredients in a glass of ice cubes and stir with a spoon for 30 seconds. Pour in a lowball glass filled with ice cubes.

Garnish with sorrel, lemon verbena and a slice of apple.

Enjoy experimenting! Or go and visit Blume in Studiestræde and try Hardeep’s mouthwatering cream-based Oreo cocktail.

All photos in this article are by Rasmus Poulsgaard.

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Cocktails of Copenhagen
Cocktails of Copenhagen is a tribute to craft cocktails, trendsetting bars and creative bartenders. we feature inspiring cocktails from the Nordic bar scene every week and offer a sneak peak into the creative thinking of Scandinavian bartenders with beautiful photos and intriguing recipes.