After almost a decade away from the big screen, Lindsay Lohan made her official return this November with a Hallmark-style holiday rom-com that became the most-watched movie on Netflix for more than a week after it debuted. Her next immediate move after that surprising success? Drinking Pepsi and milk.
The questionable mixed beverage, with the equally unappetizing moniker “Pilk,” is a social media food trend that took off on TikTok and other corners of the internet many months ago. Pepsi ad executives jumped on the opportunity to endorse and commercialize the “dirty soda” this holiday season with the soda giant running “Pilk and cookies” ad campaigns across television and food delivery apps. They recruited the beloved “Mean Girls” actress, and some unexplained sexual innuendo, to help in this odd but intriguing effort.
The actress is seen tip-toeing around her festively decorated house when she finds the Pepsi-milk cocktail next to a plate of cookies. “That is one dirty soda, Santa,” Lohan says with a laugh.
“Feeling nice…or naughty? @Pepsi, let’s make #PilkandCookies happen,” a caption on Lohan’s Instagram version of the ad reads. While some who have been enjoying the trend for months rejoiced, others scorned the idea of soda and dairy, decrying the idea of a drink that might be described as “curdled.”
As a born and raised Texan in a life-long committed relationship with Dr. Pepper, I have always assumed that Pepsi was a beverage no one actually consumed and only existed as far as the Superbowl halftime show is concerned. In my experience, if someone was to voluntarily drink Pepsi, they were most likely a serial killer or Kendall Jenner attempting to broker a peace deal between police officers and protesters taking to the streets. All that to say, I’m not an impartial judge.
And yet, as someone who has reviewed disturbing food trends ranging from unicorn Frappucinos to pumpkin spice Bud Light hard seltzer, I have to judge despite my bias. Although there are now countless TikTok and YouTube videos of users trying the controversial drink, and in some cases taking it to the extreme (I regret to inform you someone made Pilk cheese), I couldn’t find an official recipe.
Obviously, it wasn’t the ingredients I was concerned about but that the ratio of milk to soda could make or break the whole drink, so I tried two versions. First, a 1:1 ratio, and second, a nearly full glass of Pepsi with a heavy pour of milk, like one might prepare their iced cold brew or an affogato — if you can imagine Pilk belonging in such company. And for no reason other than personal preference, I tried both versions over ice.
Rewatching the commercial, it appears Santa makes his Pilk with the 1:1 ratio, although the version Lohan drinks looks closer in color and appearance to my second version with the heavy pour (pictured left above).
But enough with the technicalities — both were not just tolerable, but dare I say, good. Like a cream soda or a Coke float, the milk cuts down on how overly sweet and saccharine Pepsi is on its own, while still keeping enough bubbles to be refreshing and not make the drink immediately flat. Despite what other internet haters claimed, neither version ever appeared curdled, just more flat over time, becoming a very sweet milk which was admittedly not as enjoyable.
If I’m going to enjoy the drink again on its own, I’d prefer the sparkier and lighter “heavy pour” version, but I can understand how Pepsi chefs envisioned the richer half-and-half version as a stand-alone dessert or an indulgent complement to a warm cookie.
I don’t know if Lohan tried the drink herself before signing on to help Pepsi in their mixology campaign, but if so, she has good taste.