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Cayenne takes cocktail from Hatch'd STL to 'the whole next level'

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SR Adult Chocolate Milk from Hatch'd STL for publication Dec 7, 2022

The perfect complement for Santa’s cookie plate just may be the Adult Chocolate Milk from Hatch’d STL, a blend of chocolate milk, coffee whiskey, caramel, and a pinch of cayenne sprinkled with sweet cocoa. Photo by Pat Eby

Q • I had a delicious drink at Hatch’d STL — adult chocolate milk. Is it possible to get the recipe? I would love to serve it at a holiday party! —Angie Moehlmann, Crestwood

A • If you think Santa deserves a special treat with his cookies this Christmas Eve, maybe a little Adult Chocolate Milk would be in order, and it would be good for parties, too, as our reader suggest.

This latest cocktail offering from Hatch’d STL combines the great tastes of smooth Kentucky coffee whiskey, real chocolate milk and caramel syrup, but an unusual ingredient adds the spark owner Joshua Sturma was looking for.

He and his staff were introduced to the whiskey by its brand ambassador, Brad Sampson, who brought them samples to try. “He said because we’re a breakfast restaurant we should have a nice coffee whiskey,” Sturma says.

“One of our people tried it straight up, liked it, and started throwing out ideas of what would go well with coffee whiskey. Well, chocolate and caramel seemed obvious, a Bailey’s type thing. I didn’t want to start with Bailey’s because that would end up with two spirits battling each other in one drink,” he says.

“I thought what’s the harm in using actual chocolate milk? I added caramel, we had chocolate and coffee going together, and I knew it wouldn’t be bad. People said, ‘Yeah, it’s good,’ but nobody was wowed by it.”

Sturma turned to the tradition Hatch’d maintains to develop menu items that are unique, often with a special twist. “I thought you don’t see many spicy cocktails except for bloody marys, so I added a dash of cayenne to the cocktail, and that took it to the whole next level,” he says.

Longtime server Katie Varner, who has been with the restaurant since it opened, named the drink Adult Chocolate Milk, and it stuck. She’s also known by her informal title, brand ambassador for Hatch’d. “I just love to talk to people,” she says.

She knows her customers well. “We kicked around a couple of other names, but adult chocolate milk rolls off the tongue, it’s easy to sell and draws the eyes to our cocktail menu. Once we had something to call it, we got rolling with this drink,” Sturma says.

The restaurant is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. serving classic American breakfast items with a twist, such as the Pastramolette with house-made pastrami, or the Pike’s Market omelet with smoked salmon, also smoked in house by Paul Sturma, Joshua’s dad and co-owner at Hatch’d. There’s a Wishful Shrinking menu of healthier items like avocado toast and a yogurt parfait, and a Recently Hatch’d menu for those under 12.

The restaurant also has a second-floor special events space, the Eclore Room, for private parties of up to 100 people, which is available daily from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Dan Neman makes a thick and delicious Parisian hot chocolate that will make you toss the pre-made mixes. Video by Colter Peterson,

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