Cougar Milk and other Backcountry Skiing Libations

Post by blogger | February 27, 2006      

A guy from Conde Nast just emailed me asking about Cougar Milk. Rather than a private reply, I thought perhaps we could all raise our glasses together.

As many of you Canadians may know, Cougar Milk is a Canuck concoction that was favored by early pioneer Canadian backcountry skiers. It’s packed with calories, prevents frostbite, and numbs pain. Guidebook writer and historian Chic Scott says it this way (paraphrased) in his amazing guidebook, “Summits and Icefields.”

“Cougar Milk was the backcountry skier’s drink of the 1930s – 1950s. It was originally known as Moose Milk and the recipe was displayed on the back of bottles of Coruba Rum which was popular in those days. It’s likely that Erling Strom coined the name “Cougar Milk” and the name stuck. In the early days famed ski pioneer Strom ran a popular backcountry skiing lodge near mount Asinaboine in Canada. After a hard day skiing the intrepid adventurers would retire to the lodge and prepare this hot drink. The recipe is simple:

In a glass combine a heaping teaspoon of sweetened, condensed milk, one ounce of rum and pinch of nutmeg. Add boiling water to taste. High calorie, hot and tasty!”

I might add that another famous backcountry skier’s drink is the Aspen Crud, invented by 10th Mountain Division troopers while they partied in Aspen, Colorado in the 1940s. The crud is simple. In a blender add equal parts burbon and vanilla ice cream. Drink sparingly, to say the least.

My favorite backcountry hut cocktail is simple hot buttered rum. Easy to make. Start with a shot of rum in a mug, slowly add hot water (it can boil over because of the rum, so be careful), stir in a few spoons of brown sugar and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Any other favorite backcountry libations oh loyal blog readers? Please leave a comment that includes your recipe.


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