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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Catalina’s Cocktail – Buffalo Milk

There's always been talk about the buffalo that roam on Catalina Island, off California’s coast. No, they are not native to the Island, though that does sound romantic. 14 of them were brought over from Los Angeles for a film shoot in the 1920s, but like so many bit players they did not end up in the film. Also like bit players, they were left behind when the film wrapped and these 14 buffalo suddenly had a new home…on an island. So, what to do? Their numbers grew to about 500 at their peak and they were often in the downtown area of Avalon, at the beach licking the salt off the rocks and on the golf course. In fact, as local historian Michele Bestudik tells me, it used to be accepted that if your golf ball hit a buffalo patty during play, you were not penalized a stroke. So in Two Harbors, Catalina’s other port, in the mid 1970s, at the Harbor Reef Restaurant they came up with a drink to honor the buffalo and so Buffalo Milk was born. You can find it at Descanso Beach Club, as I did on a recent visit - 12 ounces of bliss for $12, as well as all over Avalon with some variation - some use real banana for example, others the liquid version of banana. Think of it as a White Russian smoothie and you get the idea. On a hot day this hits the spot and the concoction is well balanced with its various ingredients. Far too easy to drink (watch out for brain freeze) but wonderfully compelling, cooling and creamy, a few too many of these and you’ll be roaming with the buffalo. You won’t find this on the mainland, but you can make it at home. Here’s how.

Buffalo Milk
In blender add:
Half shot of Creme de Cocoa (dark or light)
Half shot of Kahlua (better still Patron Coffee Liqueur)
Half shot Creme de Banana
Full shot of vodka (I like Khortytsa from Ukraine, but Ketel One, and LA-based Loft & Bear would do nicely)
Add half and half, crushed ice and blend. Top with whipped cream and dust with nutmeg.

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