02/22/2013 09:24 am ET | Updated Feb 26, 2013

Coffee Milk: The Rhode Island Specialty Fueled By Autocrat Syrup


Coffee milk is the official state drink of Rhode Island. No, seriously, it was made official in 1993. If you're from anywhere outside America's smallest state, or aren't eating buddies with any Rhode Islanders, you may be scratching your head. No, we are not talking about coffee with milk. We are talking about coffee milk.

Coffee milk is kind of Rhode Island's answer to New York's egg cream. The combination of sweet coffee syrup and milk is enjoyed at all hours of the day, and no brand is as ubiquitous as Autocrat Syrup. Autocrat showed up on the scene in the 1930s, shortly after their main competitor, Eclipse. The decades-long rivalry came to an end in 1991, when Autocrat purchased Eclipse, and they still produce both labels to this day. That's right, Autocrat actually produces their main competitor on the coffee milk scene. The company also produces a third label, Coffee Time Syrup (whose label design we are in love with), which they sell mainly to markets outside Rhode Island. We suspect they're all the same formula, or at least taste the same. Rhodies? Care to weigh in?

So, what does coffee milk taste like? Think chocolate milk with a hint of coffee. Actually, just think really sweet milk with a hint of coffee. Or, imagine that you let coffee ice cream melt and then you poured it over ice. If you like coffee just a little bit, and also happen to have quite a sweet tooth, then coffee milk is definitely for you.

Now, Rhode Islanders, please tell us everything we need to know about the other two elements of this holy trinity.

coffee milk

Autocrat is pretty hard to find outside of Rhode Island, but if you want to give this sweet treat a try, you can pick up a bottle of the syrup on Little Rhody Foods.

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