Dirty golden milk has changed my mornings (recipe)

golden milk
© Melissa Breyer

This vegan, sweet, and spicy drink with a caffeine kick is an eye-opening way to start the day.

If you know what a dirty chai is, and you know what golden milk is, then you know what dirty golden milk is – a name that I find amusingly unappetizing yet also kind of mischievously delicious. (And I think most people would call this concoction a turmeric latte, but that sounds too blasé for such a zesty drink.)

So, the dirty part. It used to be that we made martinis "dirty" by adding a splash of olive juice – somewhere along the way the coffee set adopted the term to refer to adding a shot of espresso to a chai latte. I recently saw mention of a dirty horchata, so I am thinking that dirtying up any kind of drink with a shot of espresso is fair game.

Next up, the golden milk part. The star here is turmeric, a brilliant member of the ginger family that has been considered holy and auspicious in India and other parts of the world for millennia .... and to which the western world has finally caught on. In a story on homemade turmeric teas and elixirs, I called turmeric "the official It Girl of food trends." Four years later and it still seems to be gaining in popularity. When added to warm plant milk with other spices and something a little sweet, the result is known as golden milk.

I never really thought I would be jumping on the trendy coffee concoction train – I have long been happy with my Moka Pot espresso and steamed oat milk. But during the Great Brooklyn Oatly Shortage of 2018, we had to turn in our hipster cards and try a lesser oatmilk. It tasted like something between stale water and wet cardboard; but determined not to dump it down the drain where it belonged, I just decided to flavor the living daylights out of my morning coffee – and thus, my dirty golden milk habit was born.

I still love a straightforward coffee, but I find that this bright and spicy version really perks me up. It wakes my palate, for sure, and it's cheerful color is easy on the eyes and lifts my spirit. (I am sappy, I know.) The spiciness feels like a nicely-placed kickstart to the system, and I know that turmeric has many health benefits, which feels like a nice and affirming way to start the day.

golden milk© Melissa Breyer

How to make dirty golden milk

  • 3/4 cup oatmilk
  • 1 long shot of espresso or 1/4 cup coffee
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • A sprinkle of nutmeg
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A sprinkle of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

1. Make the coffee, pour it in a mug, and set it aside.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the oatmilk and use a steamer, or heat it in a pan over medium low heat while whisking.
3. Add warm oatmilk to coffee, drink, feel vibrant!

Notes: Espresso really makes this delicious; and a Moka Pot is a great, easy, waste-free to make it. The measurements here are very flexible and should be adjusted to your taste. Nutmeg is my catnip and I love spicy, so I go with a few extra shakes there.

Variations: You can use your favorite milk; and for a more substantial drink, add a little coconut oil or almond butter. You can also add ginger, black pepper, cardamom, or whatever other warming spices you like. If you're not a coffee drinker, you could make this with a shot of strongly brewed tea. And if you don't drink caffeine or want to switch it to an evening drink, skip the coffee/tea part altogether for a not-so-dirty, but still delicious, golden milk.

Dirty golden milk has changed my mornings (recipe)
This vegan, sweet, and spicy drink with a caffeine kick is an eye-opening way to start the day.

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