Image: Black Cow
Are you a fan of smooth and creamy adult beverages? Better read on.
The way we drink milk has changed into something we never saw coming. We’ve swapped our childhood-favourite bevvy for its adult alternative — a cocktail featuring vodka made entirely of milk.
Not surprisingly, this vodka is ultra-smooth and boasts a delightful creaminess. It’s made by Black Cow on a farm on England’s West Dorset coast, which is exactly where the idea of making vodka out of milk came from.
One night in his home on his dairy farm, Black Cow founder Jason Barber enjoyed an Eau-de-Vie, a particularly well-aged batch of cider, with hobbyist cider-brewer Paul Archard (Archie). They offered a glass to Joseph, a Polish man who worked on Jason's farm who Archie says “understands spirits and distilling very well.” Joseph took a sip but didn’t seem impressed. But, he looked out the window at the field of dairy cows and said, “You know you can make good drink out of milk?”
It would be the perfect solution to a problem faced by those in the cheese-making industry, including Jason. On his farm, the cow milk is taken to a cheese plant where the milk is separated into curds and whey. “The curds are the traditionally valuable part of milk where the fat and all that lovely stuff is,” says Archie. The curds from the milk from Jason's farm are made into Black Cow Cheddar, a 15-month aged cheese. “The whey is the by-product and really a problem child of the dairy industry in that there’s much more of it produced than is needed.” Whey cannot be dumped into the water table because it’s high in sugar and disrupts aquatic life. So, inspired by Joseph's tip to turn milk into a delicious alcoholic drink and eager to find a solution to the problem of having an exorbitant amount of whey, Archie and Jason set out to find a way to make vodka from grass-grazed cows milk whey.
The secret is a special yeast, which enabled the duo to convert the milk sugar in the whey into alcohol. The now-milky beer is then distilled and treated and “we end up with a pure milk vodka which is 40% and absolutely delicious,” says Archie.
Have a dietary restriction? Black Cow Vodka's lactose content is fewer than 5 parts per million, making it perfectly safe for those with lactose intolerance. Plus, it isn't made from grains, so it’s also safe for Celiacs, too.
We got to try Black Cow Vodka in the Canadian Living Test Kitchen and were seriously impressed with its taste and creaminess. We enjoyed it with Black Cow Cheddar, which was a fabulous pairing that Archie describes as “the milk reuniting in the mouth,” as the post-fermented curd and whey come together in their original milk form once again. Trust us — it’s a pairing that deserves to be tried. May we suggest trading in your next wine and cheese party for a milk vodka and cheddar party?