Sunshine Milk

Marshes on Nantucket

It may be the beginning of April, though honestly March does not feel as if it were just a month ago – it feels instead like an entire year ago. Given the planet is in the middle of a pandemic my sense of time is completely skewed.

Low tide on Nantucket Island

My grandparents, and presumably yours, lived through the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19. Hundreds of thousands of people lived with the terror of Polio until a vaccine was created in 1955. Covid-19 is the most recent disease to sweep across the globe. I’m not a scientist so I have no advice to offer of how to cure this disease. Nor am I a doctor, so again, no brilliant insights of how you can attempt to avoid this disease, though there are several things you can do to help “flatten the curve”*, and I sincerely hope you are able to do them. As someone who is most often found in the kitchen, all I can offer you at this moment is a bit of sunshine in a cup.

Lighthouse Nantucket

Black scallop shell on Nantucket beach

In February I had a work delivery to make on Nantucket, so my husband and I turned it into a micro-vacation. Once the delivery was complete we had forty-eight hours to explore the island. February is very off-season, on top of that the days we happened to be there were during school vacation week, so island life was even quieter. Yeah for us – it was almost as if we had the island to ourselves.

We hadn’t bothered to bring a car so our two options of exploration were our feet or the island bus. We clocked in over twenty miles during the forty-eight hours we were there. We wandered along the brick sidewalks and cobblestoned streets of the Town of Nantucket.

Brick sidewalk Nantucket

Brick sidewalk on Nantucket with Lego Brick insert.

We took the bus out to Siasconset so we could get blown along the ‘Sconset Bluff Walk and shoreline, much to our delight. The waves were so cacophonous we had to shout to communicate. Mostly we walked along the beach tilting our bodies at a 45˚ angle to keep from being blown over as we took hundreds of pictures of the waves, both of us smiling like nutters. The wild winds, the crashing waves, and the complete lack of crowds suited us both.

Crashing wave on Sconset Beach Nantucket

Waves on Sconset Beach Nantucket

Stone path down to Sconset Beach, Nantucket.

Given the off season only small group of restaurants were open, including the Handlebar Cafe. We ducked in there, both to get out of the wind, as well as to enjoy a hot beverage and write some postcards we’d found earlier that day at the Whaling Museum gift shop. On the counter of the cafe was a sign for “Cup of Sunshine”, which sounded so good and novel to both Shawn and I, that we each ordered a cup.

What can I say? I am not always at the forefront of a trend, in this instance the Golden Milk trend. Go ahead google it. There are almost four hundred million results! Whether you’ve known about it for ages, or are just discovering it like me, I hope you’ll enjoy.

Cup of Sunshine sign at Handlebar Cafe on Nantucket Island.

After we returned home I started playing around with the recipe and learned a smidge of fat helps your body absorb all the good qualities of turmeric (thank you Mark Bittman). So while it may seem odd to add oil to hot milk or hot chocolate, don’t skip it.

Spices used in Golden Milk

Now a quick word about spices. They need to be fresh. If the ones in your cupboard are from three administrations ago,  or date back to your college days, or are older than your youngest child (who is now in college) think about composting those spices and starting with some new, fresh ones. I tend to buy mine in bulk, however during Covid-19 restrictions grocery stores are not allowed to sell from their bulk section. So invest in a few jars of new spices and you’ll notice the difference! If you have a mortar and pestle you can also consider getting some spices in their seed form and turning them into powder with a judicious amount of pounding. Consider it smashing therapy.

Measure the milk in your mug of choice

Sunshine Milk & Hot Chocolate Sunshine

There is an enormous amount of flexibility with this recipe, which makes it perfect for anyone who may not be able to pop out to the store at present. Having drunk a mug of Sunshine Milk or Hot Chocolate Sunshine nearly every day for the last month I’ve found no two mugs are exactly the same – so embrace the variations.

Note: there are two recipes, one for Sunshine (Golden) Milk, and another for Hot Chocolate made with Sunshine Milk as its base.


Milk or dairy-free milk of your choice – almond, soy, oat, coconut

1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon Turmeric Latte Mix **

If you don’t have a packaged mix you can put together the following spices:

3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Ceylon if you have it)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 pinches of ground chili peppers
generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1-2 teaspoons of sweetener you can use whatever you have on hand – honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar, regular sugar – brown or white

1-2 teaspoons coconut or avocado oil


Measure the amount of milk or dairy free milk by pouring it into the mug you’ll be using then pouring it into a small pan along with the oil. Warm the liquid on low heat until it is steaming, but not boiling.

While the liquid is warming spoon the other ingredients into your mug. Adjust the amount of sweetener, based both on which type you are using and also how much sweetness you’re in the mood for. Once the liquid in the pot is steaming pour into the mug, stirring until everything is combined. If you want you could also use a milk steamer or frother to get a head of foam on top. Totally up to you, and how many dishes you feel like doing.

Golden Turmeric Milk

Cocoa and chopped chocolate

For Hot Chocolate Sunshine just add the following ingredients to the above recipe:

1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons chopped dark chocolate (optional)
additional spoonful of sweetener, if desired

Golden Milk Hot Chocolate

Floor pattern of compasses.

*As I said I’m not a doctor or scientist but here is list of what is being recommended we do to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Stop traveling
  • Work from home if you are not an essential worker
  • Keep six feet away from everyone if you must go out
  • Gloves and masks can help protect you and others when you do go out, but washing your hands is still #1
  • If you get sick self-isolate – ideally away from healthy people

Seagull flying above the waves off Sconset

** This is not a sponsored post. The baristas at the Handlebar Cafe were kind enough to tell us they used Nature’s Harvest Turmeric Latte mix and add in some maple syrup. Also since I am not able to get my spices and herbs in bulk I decided to check out the Spice House, who offer an online option for super-fresh spices which offers free shipping on their flatpacks.


Filed under 50 Recipes

16 responses to “Sunshine Milk

  1. Marisa G. Ovadias

    Cynthia – you and your post are a ray of Sunshine today…I can’t wait to try your recipe. I have been making what my boys call “abuelita’s hot chocolate” hot almond milk : cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cocoa and a pinch of salt but love the sound of all the spices you have in your recipe…have a wonderful day!

    • Abuelita’s hot chocolate sounds divine! In my neck of the woods we had snow until last week, so hot chocolate or hot golden milk are perfect for these early spring days. Wishing you a lovely day as well! xox

  2. Hi Cynthia,

    I love, love, love Nantucket. Used to stay there every September or October for years. Had the absolute pleasure of finding a small cottage in ‘Sconset right across the small road from the beach, down from the bluff. We were out there every day unless we were on our bikes exploring. I know they are a problem but it was a treat to see a seal head pop up through the surf now and then. Hope you and your family are healthy and safe. Miss you!


    • Hi Susan,
      This was our very first visit and we loved it. I’m sure early fall is also a delightful time to go. The houses in ‘Sconset are so wonderful it was hard to know where to look – the architecture or the seashore.
      We are well, and hoping you are the same.

  3. Judy Allen

    Cynthia, so glad that you are posting information again. Always interesting and helpful. Judy

  4. Mary Massad

    So happy to have an uplifting message from “50years50recipes”, Cynthia!! Loved your Nantucket photos, too. I must update my spice collection, pronto, and prepare a soothing Sunshine Milk. Thanks so much for bringing sunshine to my day!! Love, Mary M

    • Mary- You bring sunshine into everyone’s day!
      While shopping these days is not the experience it once was, I would recommend it for spices. If your fridge is otherwise well stocked it may be worthwhile to refresh your spices via an online shopping spree. Age is a wonderful and treasured thing, except when it comes to the spice cupboard.

  5. Alexis

    Thank you, Cynthia!
    My vegetarian daughter had given me the mix, but I did not have the recipe!

    bises et bonnes Pâques

  6. Sue Kucharski

    What a joy to “see” you again, even if only in print. Reminiscing about your “Holy Thursday Hummus” recipe (the honored name I gave your recipe). I can’t wait to try this one – we need all the sunshine we can get these days!

    • Hi Sue! Lovely to have you stop by. We all do need some sunshine these days – especially since, in a moment of frugality, we decided to turn off our heat!
      Stay cozy and enjoy your Holy Thursday Hummus this Holy Week.
      Peace be with you~

  7. Heather Caldwell

    I just made it and – YUM! I used vanilla soy milk, honey as a sweetener, and left out the pepper and chili. I put the honey in with the steamed milk and coconut oil – to melt it off the spoon! Sunshine is just the ticket these days – for so many reasons. Love you so! xoxo

  8. Castagné Sylvie Haas

    Thank you for this refreshing walk by the sea. Even though I don’t drink milk, I enjoyed it very much.

    Stay healthy, Bises Sylvie

    • Hi Sylvie,
      Vous êtes les bienvenus! La promenade au bord de la mer était fantastique et je suis sûr que vous et votre mari auriez adoré. Nous ne buvons pas beaucoup de lait non plus. Je mets un petite peu dans mon thé. Essayez d’utiliser des laits non laitiers comme l’avoine, les amandes ou la noix de coco.
      Bises à toi

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