The world of cocktails is a fascinating one, because it manages to bring together many aspects of culture, history and society. Certain cocktail recipes were invented by famous people, others were directly influenced by historical events, some were inspired by popular culture, literature or movies. For example, the Death in the Afternoon cocktail was invented by Ernest Hemingway because he had a passion for absinthe and drinking in general; another cocktail with a surprising source is the Green Vesper, which was ‘invented” by James Bond in the book Casino Royale. The recipe mentioned by the 007 agent in the book actually proved to have compatible ingredients, so bartenders started preparing it over the world.
The cocktail we are going to present today has a similar origin; it is not the only mixed drink inspired by literature, but it is definitely one of the most popular. Its name is the Moloko Plus cocktail and it was first mentioned in the cult book Clockwork Orange written by famous British author Anthony Burgess. The book, which explores human violence, the decay of society and free will was very controversial when it was first published in 1962. In many countries it was banned and it brought Burgess the disdain of many of his fellow writers; the public however received it with acclaim because with all its exaggerations, it was an honest book presenting human nature at its vilest.
The Moloko Plus cocktail would also feature in the movie adapted from the book, and which received the same name; the main character of the book, Alex, was famously portrayed by actor Malcom McDowell. The book never mentioned a recipe for the cocktail, and even though we see the characters in the film drinking it, it is impossible to tell what the ingredients could have been. What we do know is that it combined milk with other alcoholic beverages and possibly drugs, which is why in real life there are many variations.
Because the book gained popularity with certain anarchist sympathizers and had a good underground reception, the recipes for the Moloko Plus that are found today have extremely different ingredients, the only common denominator being that they sometimes use drugs such as barbiturates in the composition. This means that this cocktail is not official and those who prepare it try to replace the slang used by Burgess with what seems closer to home. Thus, many interpret “vellocet” as being an opiate, “synthemesc” as being synthetic mescaline and “drencrom” as being adrenochrome. Unfortunately, this means that minors can consume this cocktail, because it is prepared using drugs that are legal.
There is, however, a commercial version of the Moloko Plus cocktail and its ingredients are: 1 ounce of Absinthe, 1 ounce of Anisette Liqueur, 2 ounces of Irish Cream Liqueur, five ounces of milk and one tablespoon of sugar. The ingredients are poured into a shaker with ice, shaken and then poured into a highball glass.