It took a few juice cleanses—in which a cashew or almond milk is your last "juice" of the day—to get us hooked on nut milks. (When that's your only source of fat and protein for 72 hours, you really crave it. Like you've never craved anything before.)
But even once back on solid food, we found ourselves missing those rich, nutty drinkables. So we were pretty jazzed to hear about OMilkNYC, delivering their vegan almond and cashew milks in New York.
It's the work of Julie and Greg Van Ullen, "partners in nut milk and in life," who started the company about 4 months ago. It all started with Julie's obsessive cereal habit. She'd plow through a box in two days (we hear ya, girl) and was looking for alternative milks that she actually liked, a search which led her to make her own.
The two milks (plus two seasonal takes on the classics) are made by soaking raw nuts for about 12 hours, then blending them and bottling (for the cashew, which is unfiltered) or blending, then finely straining (for the thin, clearer almond). They've got a little bit of agave nectar to sweeten, and the cashew is further flavored with Madagascar vanilla bean. (Since they're a small company they don't have exact nutrition information, but they estimate 100 calories, 8 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein for an eight-ounce serving.)
The almond is the thinnest, in a skim milk kind of way. And you could drink it just like you would skim milk—a cold glass alone or with a meal, poured over cereal, added to coffee. It really tastes like raw almond meat, nothing else added or funky about it. (Works great with things like granola, though if you're getting into strongly flavored cereal territory, you might want to consider whether an almond flavor is a good match.)
The cashew is more substantial than the almond, closer to the rich nutmilks we liked, with teeny bits of cashew still apparent and a light, pleasant vanilla sweetness. It's thicker and fattier, almost milkshakey, a good choice for a light meal or substantial snack. All of the textures of these OMilkNYC milks are nice, one of the best parts about them. Light, real-milk-like, not too slimy or too thick.
OMilk has seasonal flavors that rotate, and until the end of the year they've got the EggNog Cashew Milk. Okay, maybe it's just nog, no egg, but we liked the rich winter spices of nutmeg and cinnamon, and particularly the hint of cardamom. We can testify that the addition of a little dark rum or bourbon is an excellent thing. And the Chocolate Candy Cane Almond, which will stay on the menu longer into the winter, is kind of like drinking an Andes mint, but made with a less sweet, good-quality dark chocolate syrup. It's smooth, not too rich or heavy, but definitely a treat-milk. We added it to an espresso shot for a minty mocha that felt very festive.
During the summer, OMilk NYC is out at the Brooklyn Flea; for now, they're doing delivery. They're not too cheap (a big 32oz jug is $10) but they're more substantial than your average alterna-milks; 4 ounces can tide you over for quite awhile. —Carey Jones and Erin Zimmer