Serious Eats: Drinks
Eyewitness Booze Investigation: Adult Chocolate Milk
Cows are cool. They seem peaceable enough, but every so often one'll come through when there's a spangled Iberian sportsclown who needs goring or, better yet, a flock of idiots who find themselves one cow short of a mass trampling. Who doesn't like a good bovine uprising? And I just bought my girlfriend leather pants for her birthday. She'll never wear them and surely resents that I thought she might, but that's not the cow's fault. He did his part.
And have you ever eaten a cow? Not the whole thing (they're HUGE), just the burger part. My god, it's spectacular. I understand they also have a hand in ice cream, and my farming correspondents suggest they even produce magical excrement used in the production of asparagus and flowers. Sounds unlikely, but who knows what sort of digestive alchemy goes on in a four-part stomach the size of a whiskey barrel?
So I am unabashedly pro-cow. But I draw the line at milk. People assure me I must have drunk milk as a child, and I suppose anything's possible before I became a culinary free agent (i.e., could reach the fridge door) at age 5, but I've certainly not had a single glass since. Milk, I remind you, is the thick white fluid produced by large cows for the purpose of sustaining small cows until such time as the small cows grow large enough to trample idiots or become leather or fulfill whatever other grand destiny awaits them. And that's just swell—if you're a cow. Humans have no business drinking this ghastly barnyard effluvium, even if it's chocolified.
But what if it's chocolified and alcoholified? Well, that's a different story altogether! In that case, it's a new 40-proof hooch called Adult Chocolate Milk, and it's much better than I thought it'd be. The good folks at the ominously named Adult Beverage Company of Milwaukee sent me a test tube of the stuff last week and I thought, "Oh good, this will be easy to mock!" But I must admit, if I were the sort of man who drank this sort of thing—a man like celebrity endorser Ginuwine, let's say—I would happily pay the $23 they ask for a one-liter bottle.
It's not much to look at, sort of a faint gray-brown more suitable to a high school teacher's Corolla than to something you want to put in your mouth, but it smells surprisingly real. Not like real milk, thank heavens. (The website touts real cream, but it's shelf-stable.) It smells like real liquor, and not in the jagged grain alcohol way I expected after my run-in with alcoholic whipped cream. Though Adult Chocolate Milk is vodka-based, with my eyes closed you could have convinced me I was smelling rum, and that impression carried through to the drinking.
It tasted like I suppose chocolate milk might—who am I to say?—but with undertones of burnt caramel and butter. My research assistant, all pretty and practical in her boring cotton pants, pronounced it "not artificial" and "like a Mudslide but better." I followed the manufacturer's advice and drank it on ice, which seemed just about right, though if I ever happened across a bottle of it, I'd pair it with four Heath bars and one nonjudgmental friend.