Ode to the Milk Punch
Is there a more magical thing on a hazy, hot and humid morning in New Orleans? Struggling to rouse your sleepy head from the pillow, there's that dull ache just behind your eyes telling you that the razor’s edge has been reached. You’ve gone beyond what you would consider to be polite behavior. But in this town of drinks and dancing into the finer hours, there scarcely is a more healing elixir than the refreshing and restorative milk punch. Oh to have the feeling of that perfectly woven drink on your lips, cascading into your mouth. The cold, creamy liquid swirling like a drain directly down your throat and crashing hither thither into your belly. This is its gift. But before I tell you about your breakfast cocktail, I need to first explain what a milk punch is in the first place.
The Milk Punch – A Brief History
What is a milk punch and why is it so important for the healing of a hangover?
The Bourbon Milk Punch is a pre-colonial drink that offers the soothing goodness of both milk and cream. It may have dated back to the days of Benjamin Franklin. It is woven with the potent burn of bourbon whiskey, plus electrifyingly strong botanical gin and/or Cognac. It is then tempered ever so slightly by crushed ice and finished, dessert-like with both fine vanilla extract and the haunting aromatics of nutmeg. I would hazard a guess that the medicinal qualities of the nutmeg with the wholesome nature of both the milk and the cream work its magic towards your healing. Then the application of bourbon and many other liquors that will, “first do no harm” and in a scant second make this refreshing drink heal that aching head of yours.
I’m usually a fan of a few different preparations to vanquish a hangover, often a shot of the Italian digestive named Fernet Branca, sometimes with cola if it’s especially bad.
However, my friends, if you choose to wake yourself up with a swelled head, the only drink I can recommend whole-heartedly is the Milk Punch. History suggests that this drink be made in a large wine glass with a portion of both bourbon and brandy. Sometimes a stiff measure of gin falls into the glass along with a heavier hand to the ice and the milk along with a wine glass full of bourbon, brandy or a combination of them all. The best of them are an almost tropical affair with milk, ice, cream half-half and vanilla along with some liquors that are to your taste.
The classic milk punches go back to the earliest days of cocktailian pleasures.
To this day you can stroll into Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans during the morning hours and be handed a liquid so intriguing that the rest of your day will have a soft shimmer of gossamer over it. This is a very interesting way to be, or not to be. For in a place like New Orleans, when you’ve had a bit too much the night prior, the only things you can do are to start over and take something else for good health!
Therefore, the milk punch is good health in a glass!
It’s a powerful restorative, suitable for refreshing inebriation from the morning hours forward. The best one that I’ve found is the one I invented myself with influences from my friends in the spirits world.
The Cocktail Whisperer’s Seriously Twisted Milk Punch
Ingredients for two very potent cocktails, scientifically designed to help you forget the night prior
2 oz. Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey
1 oz.Landy Cognac VSOP
4 oz. Ice Cold Milk
3 oz. Heavy Cream or ½ and ½
1 teaspoon REALLY GOOD Vanilla Extract (not supermarket stuff)
Freshly Scraped Nutmeg
6-8 drops Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters
To a large Boston Shaker fill ¾ with ice
Add the spirits
Add the milk and the cream
Add the Vanilla Extract
Shake well for 15-20 seconds
Strain into a tall “Collins” Type glass with a straw and packed with fresh crushed ice
Scrape some nutmeg over the top
Add 3 or 4 drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters over the top to finish.
Sip to your restoration and your good character!