Pilk is when you mix Pepsi with milk.
Most people have never heard of pilk, which is a shame because it’s a true revelation. Pilk is responsible for broadening my expectations of what a soft drink can be. Pilk is creamy, lightly carbonated and sweet, with hints of citrus, cinnamon and vanilla. To fully enjoy pilk, one must abandon their narrow-mindedness — but if you do, you will be rewarded with a truly irreplaceable sensation.
I first discovered pilk in the summer of 2020, when a viral image circulated the web. The picture, known colloquially as “kitty full of pilk,” shows a visibly distressed cat who has evidently engorged himself on a brown, curdled concoction that the creator suggests to be Pepsi and milk. The meme, edited from Tumblr user @wormdoctor’s drawing of a cat, is meant to convey disgust, and disgusted I was. My high school friends, with whom I shared this meme, held a similar sentiment. Pepsi and milk? A crime against kitten-kind.
Had that been my only interaction with pilk, this column would never have seen the light of day. A development, however, has forced me to reevaluate my initial impressions of the drink. In January, a TikTok trend emerged where creators mixed Sprite and milk, and this trend has inspired me to further investigate the “milky soda” phenomenon. In one popular TikTok video, content creator Adrian Widjy tells us that the Sprite-milk combination emulates a popular Korean drink, Milkis, but that’s not where the popularity of this drink ends.
In the Punjab province of Pakistan, doodh soda, a combination of lemon-lime soda and milk, is an iftar favorite. The crisp Sprite foils the richness of milk, in what amounts to an exceptionally satisfying way to break the Ramadan fast. Doodh is Hindi for “milk,” so the name is quite intuitive. While I’m skeptical about the true prevalence of doodh soda in Pakistani households, the drink is definitely a “thing.” Sprite Pakistan ran a 2017 advertisement promoting the marriage of their product with milk, and last year, Pakistani dairy giant Dayfresh ran a promotional campaign offering a free liter of Sprite with the purchase of a carton of milk. When I found out about these, I knew I had to try the drink myself.
There’s been just one problem with my research — the milk-to-soda ratio of my sources is inconsistent. While Korean Milkis seems to be a soda drink primarily, the Punjabi variation has about an equal ratio of milk to soda. To reconcile these differences, I developed my own variation: a 1-to-1 milk-to-Sprite ratio, which will henceforth be referred to as “sprilk.” I also revisited pilk, tackling the drink with the same 1-to-1 ratio.
And so it was that on Thursday night, I dragged my girlfriend, Emily, to the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center to help me cast judgment on sprilk, as well as pilk. I was prepared for the worst — instant curdling, or perhaps a violent chemical reaction which might ruin the Nite Owl experience for all involved. I didn’t know if Emily would still love me afterward, but I knew what had to be done for the sake of science.
Of course, it wasn’t science, but strong faith in my lord, Adonai, that compelled me to take my first sip of pilk.
To my immediate relief, I did not spontaneously combust. Rather, the explosions were among my taste buds, which gleefully accepted this intensely refreshing beverage. The fizz of the cola was dampened by the creamy milk, which also served to amplify the subtleties and aromatic notes of the Pepsi. I was taken aback by the perfect balance this drink struck. Emily called this drink “better than regular Pepsi,” as well as “something I’d try again.”
The sprilk, too, was exquisite. I understood immediately why this was a Ramadan specialty. Never has a beverage been so gentle on my stomach, and yet so filling. Sprite has always been a household remedy for stomachaches, so it’s very natural to combine it with a more nutritious drink, like milk, to accommodate those fasting intermittently. What a revelation. If only I had been less blind two years ago, when my friends and I originally dismissed pilk.
So, in conclusion, I’d highly recommend these drinks. I’m more of a pilk guy, personally, but I can appreciate the merits of sprilk. I guess the lesson that can be learned from my exploration is that we shouldn’t confine our taste palates to only what those around us are likely to accept as valid. Milk and soda sounds crazy, but it’s delicious, and apparently a pretty big deal in Pakistan.
I encourage you, my reader, to prepare yourself a glass of pilk. Do it in the Hinman Dining Center, in front of everybody. Fear not the judgmental gaze of others, and relish in a truly delectable beverage. You can thank me, but also thank yourself for stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new. Everything’s worth trying once.
Jacob Wisnock is a freshman majoring in political science.