Moon milk? Brightly colored drink increasingly popular on college campuses
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Milk has been a trendy drink on social media this year. But not the white milk found in a bowl of cereal. This milk comes in pink, purple, yellow and other bright colors, and its photogenic swirls have popped up on Instagram while recipes have been shared on Pinterest from places like Bon Appetit and food bloggers.
Most recipes include ingredients of spices, herbs, honey and sometimes an Indian plant called Ashwagandha, mixed in some type of warm milk. The color of the drink depends on which ingredients are used. Some recipes suggest adding lavender or rose petals to the mix, making it even more worthy of the ‘gram.
Nutra Organics, an Australian-based company, that promotes healthy eating and sells organic and nutritional products, posted a few different eye-catching moon milk recipes. They said the herbs found in moon milk, and moon milk in general, is popular among health-conscious consumers.
“Moon milk in particular is growing in popularity because it is a natural way to support sleep onset without side effects of (a) sleep-inducing pharmaceutical drug,” Jenna Quinlan, marketing manager at Nutra Organics said. “It’s also a delicious drink and consumers love including it as part of their pre-bedtime ritual.”
Quinlan credits the sleepy symptoms to adaptogenic herbs like ashwaganhda and turmeric. But dieticians from American Dairy Northeast said it’s cow’s milk that makes the eye lids heavy. Milk contains melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan – protein that causes sleepiness.
American Dairy Northeast posted a recipe and a few other blogs about moon milk on its website. Whole milk was the main ingredient.
The goal was to promote the dairy and create a recipe that was quick and easy for parents — the company’s biggest audience.
Elisabeth Jalkiewicz, who’s also a dietician with American Dairy Northeast, said the trendy moon milk is basically a reinvention of warm milk.
“It’s like taking a process and giving it a face-lift,” she said.
Jalkiewicz said the visual appeal of the drink is probably the reason moon milk became so popular on social media.
American Dairy’s moon milk posts led to over 80,000 impressions on their social media accounts, she said.
Midwest Dairy, also a dairy company, used the viral beverage to market to college students at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University.
Alexandra Larson, a dietician for the company, said they were the perfect generation to market to – stressed out college kids who want to relax and post to social media.
“We wanted to bring a unique local beverage to the Gen Z, and the moon milk fit the bill,” she said.
Baristas came to the campuses and created the drink for those who came by. They even brought props so students can snap a picture of it for Instagram.
Their menu consisted of three flavors: Udder Darkness: a coffee concentrate with activated charcoal, maple syrup and whiskey and brandy extract; Moo and Gold: ginger turmeric with cinnamon, black pepper and honey; and Red Velvet Moo Shine: dark chocolate, beet extract, sea salt, tart cherry and coconut sweetener.
While it’s easy to find moon milk recipes online, a coffee shop in Texas wants to keep theirs a secret.
Ez Maldonado, the manager of Summer Moon Coffee in Austin, said only the owners know what’s in it. All they share is that it has seven all-natural ingredients, it’s gluten-free and that they use whole milk and heavy whipping cream.
“It’s definitely special in its own way, and it definitely has its own special touch,” he said.
Their milk isn’t colorful like the ones seen on Instagram, but it’s good enough to make people ask for the ingredients.
“Customers come in and say, ‘I tried to make my own concoction, what’s in it?'” he said. “If I created something that awesome, I’d want to keep it to myself.”
Kristen Griffith, USA TODAY
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