Milk punch is not what you expect. It's not cloudy, it's not white, and it's not creamy.
Instead, it's a silky, clarified liquid that delivers the essence of your favorite booze without the alcohol burn.
British actress Aphra Behn is credited with first creating the drink in the late 1600s. Benjamin Franklin even had his own recipe, which he famously shared in a 1763 letter to James Bowdoin II, for whom the state of Maine is named.
Today, you'll find milk punch in Manhattan at Betony, in D.C. at Passenger, and in Minneapolis at Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse.
The local revival owes to the cocktail nerdiness of bartender Jacob Zimmerman, of Bradstreet: "I was reading about it and was like 'gosh, I want to try this;' I haven't seen it around anywhere else" locally.
The base spirit can change on your whim, and Zimmerman currently has a rye-, cognac-, and rum-based version on the menu. While the specifics may change, the ratio for a traditional milk punch stays the same: "1 of sour, 2 of sweet, 3 of strong, and 4 of weak."
In the Rum Milk Punch recipe below, sour comes from lime and pineapple juice; cream provides the sweet element; and coconut oolong tea is the weak ingredient. And, yes, Zimmerman has tweaked the ratios a bit.
- ¾ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 ¾ oz pineapple juice
- 1 ½ oz Coconut Oolong Tea
- 2 oz Plantation 3-Star Rum
- 2 oz Heavy Cream
- 2 oz Half-and-half
Combine milk and half-and-half in a shaker tin, and the remaining ingredients in another tin. Pour alcohol/tea/juice mix into cream mixture, and allow to sit for several minutes, up to 24 hours (in a refrigerator). Strain mixture into a coupe glass, using two coffee filters and two pieces of cheesecloth. Serve.
Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse serves cocktails with an Eastern influence, and food that can best be described as American classics with a Japanese interpretation.