Moose Milk – The Canadian Forces Beverage of Choice


Never mind the Hair of the Dog – how about a Hair of the Moose to get to back on your feet today?

Moose Milk is drunk around Christmas but its real tradition is linked with New Year’s levées, which are social events held on New Year’s Day hosted by the Governor General of Canada, the lieutenant governors, military establishments, municipalities, and other institutions.

In the 18th century the levee in Great Britain and Ireland became a formal court reception given by the sovereign or his/her representative in the forenoon or early afternoon. In the New World colonies the levee was held by the governor acting on behalf of the monarch. Only men were received at these events. Women were presented in the evening at court. 

It was in Canada that the levee became associated with New Year’s Day. The fur traders had the tradition of paying their respects to the master of the fort (their government representative) on New Year’s Day. This custom was adopted by the governor general and lieutenant governors for their levees.

The first recorded levee in Canada was held on January 1, 1646, in the Chateau St. Louis by Charles Huault de Montmagny, Governor of New France from 1636 to 1648. In addition to wishing a happy new year to the citizens the governor informed guests of significant events in France as well as the state of affairs within the colony. In turn, the settlers were expected to renew their pledges of allegiance to the Crown.

The levee tradition was continued by British colonial governors in Canada and subsequently by both the governor general and lieutenant governors.[2] It continues to the present day.

As mentioned, the levee was historically a male preserve but during World War II levees were attended by female officers of the armed forces. Since then levees have been open to both women and men.

There’s an interesting article about the recipe here: Though there are many iterations, historic recipes for Moose Milk typically revolved around the core ingredients of liquor, cream, and egg yolks beaten with sugar. While the Canadian military lays claim to the invention of the cocktail, which division made it first is uncertain. The navy, army, and air force each make their own versions, all hearty concoctions using a diverse array of liquor options (soldiers often used whatever was on hand, but it’s best to stay in the realm of whiskey, rum, and vodka). In an interview with Imbibe magazine, Michael Boire, a retired Canadian army major who first tried Moose Milk while serving in the Royal Highland Regiment, called the stuff “high-propulsion eggnog,” noting that, “everybody in uniform has tasted it at one time or another.”

Moose MILK Recipe

1.5 oz/45 ml Vodka

1.5 oz/45 ml Kahlua

1.5 oz/45 ml Dark Rum

4 oz/120 ml Soft Vanilla Ice Cream

4 oz/120 ml 3% milk Blend

Garnish with Cinnamon