Trick or Treat? Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South Spikes Coffee with Tingling Szechuan Pepper
F&W Chef-in-Residence Hugh Acheson is breaking ground on some unusual drinks as the culinary advisor for BKON Craft Brewer—a futuristic flavor extractor that works with any lean liquid. It could make instant gin, for example, with just vodka and botanicals. Acheson and Empire State South barista Dale Donchey showed off some interesting and seasonally appropriate experiments for a recent event at the Counter Culture lab in NYC. There, Donchey made cappuccinos using milk infused with a mix of spices including mouth-numbing Szechuan peppercorns. While the BKON was crucial for flavoring cold milk quickly before it was steamed for coffee, it's possible to harness the power of pepper to make a lip-tingling spicy drink at home without this pricey pro gadget. Anyone for a bewitched Halloween hot chocolate? Here, Donchey shares his recipe and how to try it at home.
- Milk & Spice
- 1 tbsp fennel seed
- 1 tbsp Szechuan pepper
- 1 tbsp pink peppercorn
- 3 cardamom pods
- 4 whole clove
- 4 allspice berries
- 1/4 vanilla bean pod
- 5 ounces milk (Donchey uses nonfat)
- Raw sugar to taste
Heat the milk on the stove, over medium heat until small bubbles form around the sides. Place slightly broken up spices in a mason jar and pour milk over the spices; place a lid on the jar and store in the fridge for 12 hours. Strain off the spices with a cheese cloth. This milk will not steam well and should only be used for cold applications.
For a less intense result, try the spices while gently heating milk for stovetop hot chocolate. Strain before adding to the cocoa!