Chilled Rose Milk is a fragrant + refreshing summer favorite, but here’s my secret ingredient: Beetroot!
In my teens, I used to take the bus to go to school sometimes, and there was a teeny-tiny dairy parlor right behind the bus stop – the kind of place that was a windowless hole in the wall with an end-to-end counter through which all sales were made. The man behind the counter was always a little disgruntled when customers showed up at the window, too irritated to be taken away from whatever he was watching on TV. And while waiting for the bus, I’d watch him hurriedly ladle out flavored milk from inside a cooler, into a tall glass and get back to his TV as fast as he could. The customers (mostly salesmen and school kids) would stand outside the store under the shade, catching a little respite from the sweltering heat, sipping on all kinds of cold refreshing drinks in all sorts of striking color (color that you know is mostly chemical), but the rose milk always caught my eye, for despite the artificial pink, there was a subtle elegance about it. And on a hot summer’s day, one couldn’t help but drool a little bit.
For the uninformed, a dairy parlor is just a store that exclusively sells dairy products. I remember that dairy parlors were a thing – still are, I think, except that it’s gotten a lot fancier these days.
But Rose milk, ahh! While people went gaga over it, I quite never fancied it as much, mostly because I wasn’t a huge fan of dairy or anything floral as a kid! (I know, weird, huh!). I didn’t even start eating ice-cream till I was 20! Don’t pity me! A childhood without ice-cream isn’t as terrible as you think. I settled for fruity juice popsicles and they were just as refreshing!
Since then, me and my taste buds come a long way (thank heavens!) and yes, I do enjoy a chilled glass of rose milk every now and then, but it’s always bugged me that Rose milk was just pink colored milk with sugar and rose essence!!!! Something that looks and tastes so fabulous needed to be so much more, and you know how artificial colors always irk me, especially when Mother Nature is as glorious as she is when it comes to color!
SO, I decided to fix Rose Milk with a secret ingredient: Beetroot! If you’ve been a regular reader here, you’d know how I love sneaking beetroot in unexpected things. Like in this Chocolate Beetroot Cake, or inside this VEGAN Sweet Potato Burger! Fun!
Early this month, I made this Rose Beetroot Sorbet and it was amaaazing!
But then a week later, I made these Rainbow Popsicles to celebrate Pride Month and that pushed the Rose Sorbet to the back of the freezer and I completely forgot about it. When I fished it out last weekend, there were just about 2 scoops left, but I put it on the counter a little too long and it melted a bit. Which sparked a little thought, and I added milk to the molten sorbet! And guess what? It was Rose Milk!
Except, it was now infinitely more interesting, because I knew about the beetroot and my husband did not! Atleast not until he finished his glass clean and I caved in and confessed. And let me tell you, you do not taste the beets at all! All you get is the chilled sweet milk, fragrant like a fresh bouquet of roses!
Serve these chilled on a hot summer’s day and don’t talk about the beetroots! It’ll be our little secret, yours and mine, and no one will be the wiser! Enjoy!
Note: I used Nielsen Massey Rose Water. It’s more essence than rose water, so keep that in mind when using other brands.
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- 270 grams (about 1 medium sized) Beetroot -washed, peeled, cubed
- 2 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar (150 g)
- 1 - 1 1/4 teaspoon Nielsen Massey Rose water
- 1.8 litres 2% Milk (as needed) - dairy/non-dairy
- Blend the beetroot with water to a smooth puree. Run it through a fine meshed sieve to catch the pulp and re-blend any large bits.
- Combine the beetroot juice with sugar in a small pan and bring to a rolling boil on medium heat. Continue cooking until the raw beet smell disappears.
- If there's any foam on top, keep skimming it with a spoon. Discard foam.
- Cool completely and stir in the rose water. Transfer to a clean, sterile glass jar.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, combine syrup with chilled milk until you get desired color+sweetness. This will vary based on the type of milk you use. For 2% skim milk, I need 1 part syrup to 4 parts milk.
- Serve chilled. Enjoy! Syrup can be refrigerated in a sterile container for a week.
- Since we’re using a (healthier) beet juice syrup instead of food color and rose essence (which is how regular rose milk is made), a slight dilution of the final product is expected. If you prefer a creamier, thicker end product, you can consider 1. adding condensed milk 2. reducing the beet syrup until it is very, very thick so it doesn’t dilute the milk when it’s added to it.
- I use NielsenMassey Rose water – which is actually a really concentrated version of the rose water we typically get in India, hence how I can get away with using just 1 tsp for the beet syrup. If you’re using other brands of rose water, I recommend using a rose essence/extract (instead of rose water).
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 9.5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 17mg Sodium: 99mg Carbohydrates: 27g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 27g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 7g