These creamy alcoholic drinks achieve that velvety mouthfeel without dairy.

By Laura Rege
May 06, 2020
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Caitlin Bensel

Time and time again, deciding whether to order a second white Russian, grasshopper, or creamsicle becomes an internal game of tug-of-war. Your heart says, "hell yeah—give me that creamy alcoholic drink," but your stomach says, "Do you really want to risk stomach cramps in an hour?"

But it doesn't have to be this way. Instead of achieving that ideal frothiness with dairy, turn to nuts. That's right—you can make satisfying almond milk cocktails, coconut milk cocktails, and other plant-based milk cocktails that offer the same creaminess of a dairy drink (if not more). “Nuts, blended in milks and purees, give cocktails an addictive creaminess and a savory quality,” says Sarah Meade, the owner of Here & Now, a bar in Los Angeles. “They also balance the sweet and acidic notes in drinks.”

Bar chefs are experimenting with pistachios, cashews, almonds, and peanuts and coming up with deliciously velvety concoctions—like these three. Add these creamy alcoholic drinks to your rotation, or play around with nut-based alt-milks in your classic tipples.

Pistachio Colada Coconut Cream Cocktail

Ingredients

Pistachio Pandan Coconut Cream

  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup simple syrup (2 parts sugar and 1 part water)
  • 1/4 cup pistachio paste
  • 1 teaspoon pandan extract

Cocktail

  • Ice
  • 1 ounce aged dark rum
  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce pistachio pandan coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Pineapple leaves

Directions

  1. Make the Pistachio Pandan Coconut Cream: Blend 1 cup coconut cream with 1 cup simple syrup (made from 2 parts sugar and 1 part water), 1/4 cup pistachio paste, and 1 teaspoon pandan extract until smooth.
  2. Make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine 1 ounce aged dark rum, 1 ounce light rum, 1 ounce pistachio pandan coconut cream, 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice, and ½ ounce fresh lime juice. Shake vigorously.
  3. Fill a collins glass with crushed ice, and strain drink into glass. Garnish with pineapple leaves.

From Here & Now in Los Angeles

Tide Is High Cashew Milk Cocktail

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cashew milk
  • 3/4 ounce mezcal
  • 3/4 ounce reposado tequila
  • 3/4 ounce fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweetened condensed milk**
  • Cashews

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cashew milk, 3/4 ounce mezcal, 3/4 ounce reposado tequila, 3/4 ounce fresh pineapple juice, 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon sweetened condensed milk. Shake vigorously.
  2. Fill a pilsner glass with crushed ice, and strain drink into glass. Garnish with cashews.

**If you're dairy-free, leave out the sweetened condensed milk.

From Mother of Pearl in New York

Chai Me a River Almond Milk Cocktail

Ingredients

Chai Latte Mix

  • 4 ounces chai tea concentrate
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

Cocktail

  • Ice
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 3/4 ounce apple schnapps
  • 3 ounces chai latte mix (below)
  • Few dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Green apple slices

Directions

  1. Make the Chai Latte Mix: Combine 4 ounces chai tea concentrate, 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, and 1 ounce simple syrup made with equal parts sugar and water.
  2. Make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine 1 ounce gin, 3/4 ounce apple schnapps, and 3 ounces chai latte mix (recipe below). Shake vigorously.
  3. Fill a collins glass with ice, and strain drink into glass. Garnish with a few dashes of Angostura bitters and green apple slices.

From Boilermaker in New York

(Love the subtle Chai flavor? Try these healthy tea-infused cocktail recipes.)