Hydration is key to withstanding Thailand’s sometimes oppressive heat. While there are plenty of air conditioned corner stores to grab a chilled bottle (the reproduction rate of 7-11 and Family Mart shops rivals that of a tribble in deep space), I think it is unfortunate how many visitors to Thailand miss out on street drink culture. These vendors may operate from pushcarts, holes in the wall, market stalls, or as part of any dining space. They’re typically not fancy, and what they sell often consists of artificially flavoured neon sugar water mixed with milk or soda water. In the swelter of midday Bangkok, there is little more pleasant.
Pink milk is one of these concoctions and consists of little more than artificially flavoured snake fruit syrup (salacca zalacca or sala in Thai) and various milks. Recent years have ushered in hipster cafes and coffee joints. Some creativity combining new and old ingredients has lead to a new generation of cloying refreshment. One of my favourites is espresso pink milk, which I first tried in Phuket a few years ago. The recipe below for Thai pink milk with coffee is my homage to that experience.
🥛 Layering iced drinks
The trick to distinct layers in iced drinks is to employ the ice as a barrier, and this means using a lot of it. For a marked line, aim for the ice and pour carefully. For a swirl effect you can be a little less precise. If you don't care at all, bung it in and stir.
Vegan pink milk with coffee (nom yen gaafae – นมเย็นกาแฟแวิแกน)
- 150 millilitres non dairy milk
- 20-30 millilitres sala syrup (Hale's Blue Boy brand)
- Pinch salt
- 200 grams ice
- 60 millilitres espresso
- Vegan cream, evaporated milk, or whipped cream for topping (optional)
- Mix sala syrup, milk, and salt together. Add to a 440 millilitre glass.
- Add ice over milk. Pour espresso over ice, aiming for the cubes so the layer stays intact.
- Top with cream, if desired.