Food & Drink

Golden Milk Lattes Are Taking Winter Menus by Storm

Good Neighbor owner Shawn Chopra dishes on the warm elixir of his youth—a traditional Indian remedy made of milk infused with spices.
—Photography by Scott Suchman

Move over pumpkin spice latte, there’s a new warm drink trend in town, though it’s actually ancient.

The golden milk latte, known as haldi doodh (Hindi for turmeric milk) in India, where the drink originated thousands of years ago, is popping up all over, from Motzi Bread in Charles Village to Jinji Chocolate in Greenmount. The Ayurvedic non-caffeinated drink made of warm milk infused with spices is a traditional Indian remedy thanks to the addition of turmeric.

“Haldi doodh was used as a healing drink when I was growing up,” says Shawn Chopra, the owner of Hampden’s Good Neighbor, who is of Indian descent. “We drank it anytime we weren’t feeling well. Turmeric is a big thing in curries, but it also has some healing powers in terms of its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps with blood flow, and is an antioxidant. I’d have haldi doodh about two or three times a month.”

Chopra recently put haldi doodh on Good Neighbor’s menu, after some experimentation with his staff. He knew it needed to be authentic, like the warm elixir of his youth.

“I was worried that it wouldn’t taste close to the real thing,” says Chopra. “My mom would put some cinnamon or cracked pepper on top. I loved it and have fond memories of drinking it. So when our barista, Evan, suggested we should put it on the menu, I said, ‘If you can make it taste like my mom’s.’”

Mission accomplished. This version (pictured above), made with cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, and cardamom, and sweetened with a touch of honey, “has a little more depth to it and is a bit more gourmet,” says Chopra. “I love that people find resonance with something that has been around for so long.”