• Kim Haasarud

Buffalo de Leche


The Buffalo Milk is THE signature cocktail in Catalina, an island off the coast of Los Angeles. (Can only get there by boat or helicopter.) It got its name from wild buffalo roaming on the island. In the 1920's, a film crew from Hollywood showed up to shoot a western and the director wanted to have wild buffalo in the film. When they were done shooting, the crew went home, but they left behind the buffalo. Since then, they have proliferated and now they have herds roaming the island. At one point there were over 600 wild buffalo on the small island, but they now keep the numbers down to around 150. In the 1970's, bartender Michael Hoffler of the Harbor Reef Bar & Restaurant in Two Harbors, created it after the wild buffalo.

It's often been described as a White Russian with banana. I personally, have some history with this drink as it was a central point in my husband proposing to me, but that’s a whole other story. (We romantically refer to the drink as "Buffalo de Leche.") We now take the kids and grandma there via sailboat almost every summer.

Buffalo Milk (original recipe), above middle photo

0.5 oz creme de cocoa

0.5 oz Kahlua

0.5 oz creme de banana

1 oz vodka

Garnish: Whipped cream + nutmeg

I created another version of this drink (Buffalo de Leche) that is amped up in flavor - this version uses a a spiced rum, mezcal, banana and coffee. Think of it as a carmelized banana white russian!


Buffalo de Leche

1 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

0.5 oz dark creme de cocoa

0.5 oz Patron XO liqueur

0.5 oz mezcal

Half a banana (or 0.5 oz Monin banana puree)

1.5 oz half & half

1 cup ice ice

3 roasted coffee beans

Garnish: grated nutmeg

In a blender cup, combine ALL the ingredients, including the coffee beans and a cup of ice. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into cocktail glass. Top with grated nutmeg.

#cocktail #whiterussian #catalina #catalinaisland #buffalo #buffalomilk

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