Milly Mercedes sells orange Creamsicles in a glass. For as long as she can remember, people in her native Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic have woken up to morir sonañdo, a blend of milk, orange juice, and sugar that instead of curdling into a sour mess transforms into an addictive tart, sweet mixture.
Such a concoction is startling for anyone who grew up on breakfast cereal. Ads always show off a bowl of sugary nubs in milk next to a tall glass of orange juice. In reality combining the two meant the acidic juice turned the milk into an eye-opener.
The Dominican secret is to slowly stir the orange juice into heavily sugared milk or as is the case at Milly's Restaurant condensed milk. For the best version ($3.25), however, you must stroll through the orange-hued dining room with flowered window treatments vaguely reminiscent of grandmother's house. Grab a seat at the bar, where Milly directs a small staff of bowtie-clad waitresses, and ask for morir her way.
She'll pull a squeeze bottle of simple syrup infused with vanilla and a small container of lime juice from a refrigerator. "I love it this way, it's how my mother drank it, but it's too sour for people here," she says. Milly's version is noticeably more acidic than the original, and toes the line of that soured breakfast cereal milk. You slurp it up in small sips, and while your cheeks pucker, they're soon calmed by a hit of sugar and the gentle fragrance of vanilla.
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Still, this drink shouldn't be enjoyed alone, and goes best with rich Dominican specialties like stewed goat or mangu, plantains prepared similarly to mashed potatoes. But no one would blame you for stopping in to grab a Styrofoam cup filled with the sweet stuff. Plus you save yourself the potential embarrassment of being caught in the car sensually licking a regular old Popsicle.