Like lobsters in Maine, barbecue in Texas and sourdough bread in San Francisco, many spots on the globe have their own signature cuisine. Other locales, however, tend toward more adults consumables. Whether it’s margaritas in Mexico, Cabernet in Napa Valley or pina coladas in Hawaii, certain spots have a signature adult beverage. Catalina Island definitely falls into the latter category.
While plenty of mai tais, wiki wackers and Descanso destroyers have been consumed in Avalon over the years, the island’s signature cocktail is the Catalina buffalo milk. This frothy concoction’s origins are much disputed and are perhaps lost to the fog of time. For decades, bartenders from the Buffalo Nickel at Pebbly Beach to the Harbor Reef Saloon at Two Harbors have swirled blenders full of this deceptively delicious decoction.
Although its name is inspired by Catalina’s largest terrestrial mammal, a buffalo milk does not contain buffalo milk. Recipes vary, but you can’t go wrong starting with a half shot each of dark crème de cocoa and light crème de cocoa, a shot of Kahlua and two shots of vodka. Pour that over ice in a blender, add a banana and about a shot of cream and blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.