Cocktail Kingdom Library (home)

milk punch

milk, spirits (and/or wine, cider or ale), sugar, and spices

Milk-based punches date to 17th Century Britain, beginning with the punchbowl (old school), extending to clarified (through curdling) bottled milk punch (old school), to the single serving milk punches of the 1850s (new school) that remain popular, today, in New Orleans. Milk punch was most likely derived from posset and syllabub, eventually passing through or adjacent to egg nogg, and winding up influencing the Ramos Fizz

By the mid-19th Century “Milk Punch” had come to mean something pretty straightforward. The pictured recipe is from the 1862 Jerry Thomas book, and that’s largely how Milk Punch is made, today, in New Orleans and elsewhere. What was known as Santa Cruz rum no longer exists, but any number of flavorful aged work beautifully. The basic model, today:

Milk Punch

Shake with ice:

  • 2 bar spoons superfine sugar
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1/2 oz aged rum
  • 3–4 oz milk

Strain into a glass

Garnish with grated nutmeg

Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, p. 466–7; barware icons courtesy of Haus Alpenz