Cocktail Challenge: baby formula | Cocktail Challenge | Chicago Reader

Cocktail Challenge: baby formula 

Longman & Eagle's Derek Alexander goes all out with Enfamil and breast milk

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"The Baby Trade," a breast milk cocktail by Derek Alexander.

"The Baby Trade," a breast milk cocktail by Derek Alexander.

Andrea Bauer

Challenged by Naha's Steve Carrow with baby formula, Longman & Eagle bartender Derek Alexander—a recent father—"went really over the top," perusing more than 20 chai recipes for this cocktail inspired by the historic spice trade. In addition to making "pearls" with the Enfamil, he threw in a foam made with some of his wife's breast milk. Batavia arrack is an Indonesian spirit distilled from sugarcane and fermented red rice. (Recipe below slideshow.)

The Baby Trade

1 oz El Dorado 5 Year Old demerara rum
¾ oz Batavia arrack
3 oz chai syrup*
⅛ oz Bittermens 'Elamakule Tiki Bitters
vanilla Enfamil pearls**
spiced breast-milk bubbles***

Place about a third of a cup of vanilla Enfamil pearls in the bottom of a collins glass. Insert a large straw and fill the rest of the glass with crushed ice. In a shaker, combine the rum, Batavia arrack, chai syrup, and tiki bitters. Shake well, strain into the glass, and top with a healthy dollop of spiced breast-milk bubbles.

* Chai syrup

2 whole star anise
8 black peppercorns
8 white peppercorns
28 g fresh ginger
3 whole bay leaves
10 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla beans
8 whole cloves
10 allspice berries
366 g demerara sugar
84 g amber honey
6 g loose Darjeeling tea
1,064 g water

Grind the spices with a mortar and pestle (they doesn't need to be ground finely). Slice the vanilla beans down the middle, and cut the ginger into quarter-inch coins. Add all contents to a pot and bring to a rolling boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Pour into a plastic container and cover for 30 minutes. Add the tea, stir to integrate, and cover with a lid. Let sit for ten more minutes, then strain through a chinoise into another vessel.

** Vanilla Enfamil pearls

300 g water
100 g Enfamil formula
200 g sugar
30 g vanilla paste
5 g agar-agar

Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a rolling boil. Pour onto a plastic Lexan lid and refrigerate until set, about three minutes.

*** Spiced breast-milk bubbles

300 g whole milk
400 g breast milk
4 g mace
2 g xanthan gum
2 g vanilla paste
300 g sugar
35 g lecithin

Combine all ingredients in a long cylindrical vessel and mix to incorporate. Submerge an immersion blender at a 45-degree angle and blend to create bubbles. Skim and garnish the cocktail.

Who's next:

Alexander has challenged Danny Shapiro of Scofflaw with durian, the fetid-smelling "king of fruits" beloved in southeast Asia.

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