Catalina Courtyard Suites

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Buffalo Milk— The Official Drink of Catalina Island

Buffalo Milk is the signature drink of Catalina Island. And, no, it’s not actual milk from a buffalo. It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to the history of the island’s bison herd, which was strong in numbers back in the early 1900s. Even though the bison population thinned out over the years, the island’s reputation for buffalo herds still survived. In the 1970s, bartender named Michael Harbor was known for creating special drinks at his bar Harbor Reef. After some creative cocktail experiments, he created the alcohol-spiked Buffalo Milk, and it became a huge hit on the island. Tourists and residents adore this drink, and it can be found at almost every restaurant and bar menu on the island. 

What is it, exactly? Here’s a basic recipe.

½ oz. of coffee liquor (like Kahlua)

½ oz. of creme de cocoa (dark or light)

½ oz. of creme de banana

1 oz. of vodka 

¼ cup of milk (preferably whole) 

And there you have it! You have a rich, delicious drink that you’ll definitely want to make again.

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