Mudder’s Milk

” [Zhe shi shen me lan dong xi!?] ~ “What is this garbage!?” – Hoburn Wash
“Mudder’s Milk –  All the protein, vitamins and carbs of your grandma’s best turkey dinner, plus 15% alcohol.” – Jayne Cobb
“It’s horrific!” – Hoburn Wash

A long time ago in a television show that got quickly canceled there appeared a fandom.  Firefly’s bare half season and 1 movie have sparked a joyful cult following well in excess of the actual weight of its’ actual run.  If you’re not a fan I highly recommend it as a series, it’s not a long watch binge wise and rewards re-watching extensively.

In episode 6 titled “Jaynestown” the crew enters a bar on a moon full of indentured workers.  The drink of choice is called Mudder’s Milk and is as referenced above, both nourishing and foul.  Fans have proceeded to attempt to create the drink with everything from pureed tiger bars to meticulously tested oatmeal stout home brew formulas.  During a drunken late night game of Cards against humanity at a convention I was challenged by a ships alchemist to come up with something better since I had spent the majority of the night complaining about all of the bad options around online.

The Challenge was accepted back in 2013 and quickly sparked at least 4-5 months of testing, cooking and drinking.  I think my own personal feeling on the subject was that whatever the resulting drink would be, it had to be drinkable or the entire thing was simply a waste of time.

To start with let me lay out the final recipe.

Per Serving

1/3 Rolled Oatmeal
2/3 cup Water
1/2 Apple
1 Tbsp White Sugar
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Tsp Ground Allspice
2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg

1 1/2 oz Irish Cream
1 oz Spiced Rum

Much of the prep for this recipe can be performed in advance.  This is intentional as this is intended for camping as well as breakfast drinking.

Pre-Prep:

Step 1: Using a food processor, blender or spice mill, process rolled oats until they are of a uniform size similar to flour.
Step 2: Place 1 Tsp each of spices and oat flour, into a small container with a lid.
Step 3: Peel, core, and dice apple.
Step 4: Place apples, 1 Tsp of each spice, white sugar, and 1/3 cup of water into a small saucepan over med-low heat.  Simmer for 20-30 mins.
Step 5: Remove apples from heat, allow to cool.
Step 6: Process apples to desired consistency.  This can be done with a stick blender, chinoise, food mill, or strainer and spatula.  Anywhere from chunky to applesauce is fine.
Step 7: Place apple mix in lidded container and refrigerate.

Plating:

 

Step 1: Place oatmeal/spice mix into container with 1/3 cup water.  Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator or ice chest.
Step 2: Open oatmeal, drain off any remaining water.
Step 3: Add brown sugar and 1-2 Tbspn of apple mixture and stir well.
Step 4: Spoon Apple/oatmeal mix into a glass
Step 5: Add Irish Cream and Rum to glass, stir thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of trial and error went into the creation of this drink.  I attempted to use everything from heavy cream to apple butter during this process.  As I said above the total research and testing took the better part of 4 months to complete but the results are excellent.  I encourage you to check my previous posts on the subject if you’re curious at all about the process.

Mudder’s Milk: Part the First

Mudder’s Milk 2: The Worthier Part

Mudder’s Milk 3: I Call Her Vera

Mudder’s Milk 4: Coming to a Middle

Mudder’s Milk 5: Big Damn Heroes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mudder’s Milk Part 5: Big Damn Heroes

To Recap:
Mudders Milk 1 : Where I aim to misbehave
Mudders Milk 2: Mighty fine shindig
Mudders Milk 3: Too Pretty to Die
Mudders Milk 4: Coming to a middle

I think this is going to be our final installment.  With enough experimentation I’ve gotten this to the point where it can be reproduced consistently every time.

Start with 1/3 cup of rolled oatmeal.  Using a food processor blend the oats until you’ve got the whole thing to a flour like consistency.

You can do as much as you want and keep it in a storage container but 1/3 cup is about as much as you need for a single serving.

Put the oat flour into a small resealable container with slightly more than 1/3 cup of water.   Add to the mix about a tablespoon of cinnamon, fresh grated nutmeg, and ground allspice.  Mix the oats well and place the sealed container in the fridge overnight.

While the oats are soaking we prep the apples.  Take a whole apple, peel, core and dice finely.  To the apples add a similar amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.  Add about a tablespoon of granulated sugar to the mix and then a small amount of water.  Place the whole into a pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Once the apples are good and soft you strain the results and put the apples through a food mill, chinoise or strainer.

I usually do up three apples at a time and keep the results in another container.

Once you have the cold soak and the apples done you can basically do this any time you want.

To the 1/3 cup oats I drain off any excess water and give it a good stir.  Add about two spoonfuls of apple and a good pinch of brown sugar and put it in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds.  Stir the results and spoon it into a glass.  Add 1.5 oz of coole swan irish cream and 1 oz of spiced rum.

For the rum I am currently using Eastside Distilling’s Spiced rum which uses the same kind of spice mix as their holiday spice liqueur and has a wonderful spicy flavor.

Stir up the whole mix to get it good and smooth, then drink to your heart’s content.

What I love about this is that most of the work can be done in advance and can be portioned out into single servings without any problems.  It only takes a minor amount of heat, or none at all if you’re camping hard.  With a small amount of well sealed camping storage you can have breakfast drinking for several days ready to go.

To answer a question from my last post I did make an attempt to do this with with apple butter.

The big difference between the apples I’ve been using and apple butter is about a half cup of sugar.  The consistency is about the same but when you boil the apples down for an extra couple of hours the spices get a lot stronger.  The result is a thicker, much sweeter product.

Two spoonfuls of apple butter was just too much.  The result was cloying and too sweet by far.  Maybe without the brown sugar it would have been ok or with less apple butter but I can say that the effort needed to make apple butter was not worth it for the drink.  The extra hours of stewing and the effort of putting apples through a strainer were more work than really needed.

Using store bought apple butter could be a good alternative but I think cost wise the apples would be cheaper and give a perfectly excellent result.

Mudder’s Milk Part 4: Coming to a Middle

To Recap:  Mudders Milk 1  In which we set our sails to distraction

Mudders Milk 2 In which we fail and learn that having to eat your mistakes can still be damn tasty.

Mudders Milk 3: Where we try Cold Soaking

Welcome back everyone to my attempt to create a drinkable oatmeal cocktail.  In our previous episode we tried cold soaking the oatmeal with some very good results.  Suggestions were made as to how to proceed and we present the results.

premud 1

Using a small blender I took about 3/4 of a cup of rolled oats and powdered them.  I was expecting something a bit more like steel cut oats but instead wound up with something more like oat flour.

premud2

I fouled the next step.  Normally with cold oats you only need a small amount of liquid to get the whole thing going since none of it is going to boil off.  I could have done a half cup to 3/4 cup of milk but being out of milk at the time I instead used water and didn’t bother to check my notes and used 1.5 cups of water.

premud3

The result was thin and after a stir looked pretty smooth.  I placed the container in the fridge overnight and prayed that I wouldn’t have to start over.

Mudder's Milk4-1In the morning the container had separated putting a small quantity of cloudy water on top of the layer of oatmeal.  I poured this off and was left with what you see above in the first photo.  The texture is pretty good, the smell and flavor are about a hundred times better than the baby oatmeal I tried and this looks like it’s going to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 2 is apples.  All previous attempts have resulted in apples with a slightly chunky texture that is not ideal for drinking.

Mudder's Milk4-2Mudder's Milk4-3

We start by peeling and coring.  Then dice them into small mostly uniform pieces.

Mudder's Milk4-4

Add a little baker’s sugar so the apples will sweat and about an ounce of water to get them started.  Next season with ground cinnamon and grated fresh nutmeg.

After a little time I added another ounce of water to help them soften and stir periodically to keep them from sticking.

After a good 10-15 minutes the apples were still not very soft and I’m starting to think that I need a different approach to them.  So I pulled them off the stove and into a solid bowl for a good muddling with my Oxo Steel Muddler.  I like this thing a lot, Wood makes me edgy about flavor carry over and the thing eventually wearing out and putting splinters in my drinks.  I don’t have a good history with wooden kitchen implements so this muddler feels good being both solid metal in the rod and plastic on the head for cleaning.

It made pretty short work of the apples but at the end they were still pretty solid.  Another approach is definitely needed.

Mudder's Milk4-5

 

I added the muddled apples and the oatmeal back into the pot for a little heating and blending.  At this point I made mistake number two which was to forget to season the oatmeal.  This stuff is bland, bland bland when it’s plain and for this drink I need something that is going to help mask the alcohol.  The seasoning on the apples hasn’t been able to carry the day before and this time was no exception.

This part only took about 2-3 minutes and if you’re prepping this stuff for camping or events this is the point at which you can do you run out of pre-prep.  All the previous steps can be done hours in advance and set aside.

Mudder's Milk4-6

 

Once the mixture was warm enough that cold booze wasn’t going to make the effort pointless I spooned the now somewhat more solid oatmeal into a parfait glass.  This is about 4-6 tablespoons.

Mudder's Milk4-7

 

For this attempt we’re going to use some Silver Bacardi Rum and a bottle of dirt cheap Emmet’s Irish Cream.  I would use Coole swan for this in the end but I’m not going to waste the good stuff on an unsure outcome.  You might ask, why rum?  The original effort for this came from a discussion with a lovely pirate girl and so I’m using rum in an effort to keep at least the sousant of piratical flavor.

Mudder's Milk4-8

 

1 oz of Silver Rum
1.5 oz of Irish Cream

Stir well in the glass and you should wind up with something like this:

Mudder's Milk4-9

 

Flavor: Harsh on the alcohol side.  This could be too much rum or just cheap irish cream that is the problem but it does make me think that I haven’t given enough thought to the kinds of alcohol I’m using in this.  The oatmeal is fine and the apples are tasty.

Texture: The oatmeal is perfect.  No clumps until right at the end when I’d let the glass settle a bit and even then it wasn’t big enough to stop drinking.  The apples were still huge and did require chewing.

Problems: Oatmeal was bland.  I need to season on both the apples AND oatmeal and sweeten with some brown sugar before I add the apples.

Apples were still huge: I’m thinking either putting them through a food mill, blender, or stewing them in more liquid rather than sort of poaching them like I have been doing.  Applesauce seems like a good idea for some reason but I have a feeling that it won’t work out as well as what I have been doing.  They need to be softer and mushy but not liquid.

Boozey: With both rum and bad irish cream this was a hit in the mouth every drink.  The irish cream is a for sure but using something like coole swan is going to help.  Less rum, this is an AM drink and doesn’t need that much of a hit.  I’m also thinking of something a bit more flavorful like barenjager, which is a honey liqueur and is very creamy and might help with the need for less sugar.

 

Mudder’s Milk Part 3

To Recap:  Mudders Milk 1  In which we set our sails to distraction

Mudders Milk 2 In which we fail and learn that having to eat your mistakes can still be damn tasty.

 

Chapter 3: A dish best served cold…

A suggestion was made by my mother, who is a dietitian (and married to a very nice executive chef), that I should first cold soak the oats before attempting any shenanigans with the recipe.

So the basic cup and a half of rolled oats goes into a tupperware and to which is added a quantity of milk not to exceed 1.5 cups.  Addition of cinnamon and nutmeg in an attempt to get the flavor to impart over a longer time and then the whole boat goes into the fridge overnight.

IMG_20130423_095250
Post-Fridge Results

 

At First blush the results are not appealing, it looks watery and has no apparent change in texture.  As you can see it looks about the same overall.

IMG_20130423_095312
Oats removed from liquid for reference.

The next part is to heat the oats up, add apples and liquor.  This part went about as expected, they didn’t reduce as much as previous attempts which is good as a slightly watery texture will make them easier to drink.  But as the final photos show this is still a bit lumpy compared to what we’re shooting for.

IMG_20130423_100020 IMG_20130423_100040

 

Lessons learned: As a prep method cold soak would allow someone in the field to put this entire mess into a large sealed container and then simply break out and heat to desired portion.  Apples can be prepared separately and added without issue.

Problems:  Still not thin enough, needs blending but will that release starch and turn into a mess.

Next attempt: Put rolled oats into food processor to get desired texture, then cold soak.

Mudder’s Milk Part 2

Tapback: Mudder’s Milk

So, I’ve set my sails and I have a goal in sight.  The idea to make either a late night drink that will sub out a meal while you’re drinking or a breakfast drink you can whip up in a hurry without having to slave over a hot stove.

The idea of choice was oatmeal.  It’s already a pretty close friend with milk, swapping out a measure of the cream for Irish Cream isn’t beyond thinkable.  But a number of hurdles stand in the way.

For starters I haven’t really cooked oatmeal much before so the nuance there is going to escape me.  Second, we’re looking for something drinkable.  Having to chew is a distant desire on the list of things we would like to have.

So I came up with a couple of possibilities.

Test #1: No pictures because I was dumb and forgot.  It was a late night experiment.  For starters I stewed some apples.  I did far too much for a test batch.  Two whole apples to 1 cup oats was not doing it.  I spiced the apples with quite a few things looking for a taste that would finish out the batch.  Allspice, cloves, cinnamon, possibly coriander, definitely nutmeg.  I didn’t taste most of them in the finished product.   Could be the balance of spice is off could be that I didn’t give the spices time in the oats.  I’m going to try simpler settings, start with sugar/cinnamon add items from there.  No irish cream in the house at the time I was doing this, I used a somewhat crappy chocolate cream liqueur that had been doggedly hanging on like an unwanted party guest.  Next time coole swan or something better for sure.  Need heavy cream for testing.
2 apples cubed and stewed with a small amount of lemon juice until soft.  Added nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, ground ginger, turmeric.
add 1 cup water, 3/4 cup whole milk, bring to boil.
add 1 cup oats, cook 5 minutes.  Add cream liqueur to top and loosen.

Verdict, good first pass.  Now I know what not to do next time.  Taste was ok but consistency was way off.

Test #2:

In an effort to cut down on the lumpiness of the previous experiment this batch was going to see the business end of a stick blender before I was done.

1 Apple, peeled cubed and sweated with agave nectar.
Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
1 1/2 cup of Heavy Whipping cream, brought to a slight boil
1 cup quaker oats

Once the cooking process was done and the oats looked soft enough I applied the stick blender.  Now at this point the entire mess was a bit off.  Owing to the fats in the cream it had become a sticky blob in the pot and was not loose at all.  The application of the blender, I was later to find, was to release all of the starches bound up in the oats at once which made the previously sticky blob into a bona fide glue.

Which is not to say that the day was without victory.  The resulting glue was even, smooth and had a very nice feel in the mouth.  The apples were not obvious in either flavor or shape.  I’m betting that was my other mistake.  Agave nectar is not as hygroscopic as baker’s sugar and it didn’t draw out the moisture of the apples enough to soften them.

So three steps backwards, one forwards.  But we learn more from our mistakes than our successes.