I thought I had found the ultimate example of the concept of flavoured dairy beverages when I came across Curried Milk, but I have since found some serious competitors for the honour.
Here are a couple of serious contenders from a Prohibition cookbook called On Uncle Sam's Water Wagon: 500 recipes for delicious drinks, which can be made at home, by Helen Watkeys Moore, published in New York in 1919:
Chocolate and Celery.
Mix two tablespoonfuls of chocolate paste with two tablespoonsfuls of cream. Add hot water and season with celery salt. Put a spoonful of whipped cream on top.
Malted Milk and Oyster.
Mix to a smooth paste one teaspoonful of malted milk with a little milk. Then add three tablespoonfuls of oyster milk. Then add three tablespoonfuls of oyster juice and fill up the glass with hot milk. Season with salt and celery salt.
Perhaps these ideas will inspire those of you who make or sell milkshakes for a living. No?
At this point I am in complete agreement with a writer in Puck, in 1884:
“I never have had a Prohibition beverage come into my system that it did not bring with it a large assortment of gloom, headache and late-picked remorse”
The following recipe, from the same source, does, however, sound reasonably drinkable:
Add the beaten white of an egg to one glass of cold milk and one fourth glass of ginger syrup. Shake thoroughly and serve with a bit of grated lemon peel.
Milk, of course, can be flavoured at the source, if the cows be fed certain foods. Historically, this was a problem with the very useful fodder crop of turnip. Farming magazines of the nineteenth century often gave advice about the problem, such as the following, from Turnip Husbandry, Papers (London, 1847)
“I am aware that sometimes a slight disagreeable flavour is given to the milk and butter by the turnips, but this can be entirely removed, by putting in each pan, before putting in the milk, a pinch of nitrate of potash, (saltpetre.)”
Is there an idea here? Could oyster-malted milks be produced by feeding cows with oysters?
Books which focus on cookery for invalids could be expected to include plenty of milky beverages, and it turns out they do not disappoint. The following recipe would certainly solve the liquid calorie problem for a frail invalid, but I doubt will start a widespread craze for hot, meaty, milkshakes (but please take up the idea and trial the idea, if you are in the business – I am pretty sure no-one is doing hot milkshakes anywhere these days.)
Cut one ounce of mutton or veal suet into shavings, and warm it slowly over the fire in a pint of milk, adding a little grated lemon peel, cinnamon and loafsugar.
Modern Household Cookery (1860) by Sarah Josepha Hale.
From the same source, if you don’t have the real thing, you could help any invalids in your vicinity by making
Imitation of Asses' Milk.
Boil together equal quantities of new milk and water, add one ounce of candied eringo-root: sweeten with white sugar-candy, and strain.
If you have a favourite outrageous-flavour milk, please do let us all know in the comments!