Sweet of the Week: Milk-Xologist at Punch Bowl Social

When I was a kid, my dad would always coerce my siblings and I to order milkshakes for drinks whenever we went out for fast-food. "It's healthy because it's milk," he would justify. As if ordering drinkable ice cream as a beverage at Wendy's or McDonalds was in any way remotely healthy. I quickly wised up to those faux health traits and have come a long way from my childhood apathy to my adult obsession. Nothing soothes me and delights me on a hot summer day quite like a milkshake on-the-go. Much more convenient and transportable than a cup or cone of potentially messy ice cream. And sometimes I still order milkshakes as drinks. Although nowadays the "drinks" they're replacing aren't sodas and juices, but rather cocktails. So weigh those health merits as you will. I recently got the best of both wonderful worlds at Punch Bowl Social, the newly opened dining, drinking, and entertainment complex in Schaumburg. It's the first Illinois location for the Denver-based brand, and they've brought with them a miscellany of fun, offbeat, and playful menu items designed to echo the game-focused energy of the multi-level space. The perfect example is the drinkable dessert known as the Milk-Xologist #4. 


Punch Bowl Social
Punch Bowl Social's boozy milkshake

Equal parts cocktail and dessert, the Milk-Xologist #4 is a complex boozy milkshake like you've never seen before. It's intricate, layered, and thoughtful in ways that usually only the craftiest of cocktails are. Although infused with copious amounts of liquor, it still manages to taste oddly booze-free, keeping the spotlight on the sweet dessert component. It's made with Branca Menta, St. George Nola Coffee Liqueur, vanilla soft-serve, whipped cream, and mint. Altogether, the ingredients work in perfect harmony, with the herbal qualities of the Menta dovetailing nicely alongside the bitter, heady coffee liqueur and the creamy richness of the ice cream. The fact that they opt for soft-serve is also a nice touch, ensuring an even, velvety texture throughout. My dad would love this one. 

- Matt Kirouac