Unveiling the Delightful Saga of Milk Punch

Milk punch

Even though the holidays can be stressful, Christmas is quickly approaching, which means you should be close to a few days—or even a week—of relaxation and quality time with loved ones. However, the holidays also afford us the socially acceptable opportunity to overindulge in food and drink. An entire leg and thigh of turkey at the office holiday party? Yes, please proceed. 

We also eat and drink many items during the holidays that we wouldn't normally get to enjoy throughout the year. One such treat, loved by many is brandy milk punch and its various forms. So let's read about the brief history of a classic that is now a modern mixologist's playing field to make innovative drinks.

What Is Milk Punch?

Milk Punch is currently very popular. At least the Clarified Milk Punch is. Clarified Milk Punches are a favorite beverage among bartenders and patrons equally due to their abundance of creamy flavours, sophisticated clear appearance, and ease of serving. They can be found on the menu of practically every bar.

However, while a lot of people are obsessed with these clarified cocktail varieties, it's possible that they're overlooking the original, which keeps a build that is far more in line with its name.

There are two variations of "milk punch." One is a dairy-based, frothy cocktail that tastes like eggnog with a hint of spice. Mixing rum, bourbon, milk, and vanilla extract together is all that's needed to make it. The alternative, which is the most popular, is sometimes called "English Milk Punch" or "Clarified Milk Punch," and produces an auburn liquid that is clear. 

Milk punch

The Origins Of Milk Punch

There are two methods for making milk punches: English style and New Orleans style. The New Orleans-style Milk Punch, also called a Bourbon or Brandy Milk Punch, was invented sometime in the 1600s and is essentially made with milk or cream. After the dairy product is sweetened, alcohol and a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg are added to spike it. New Orleans-style Milk Punch is a heartier cocktail than most, and it's typically served during the winter months around the holidays.

Interestingly, a distinct cocktail trend was emerging on the other side of the Atlantic at the same time as this creamy punch was becoming more and more popular in the colonies. The English-style Milk Punch, or what we now call the Clarified Milk Punch, was first mentioned in journals from 1688 by William Sacheverell, who wrote about his experiences on the Scottish Isle of Iona. A little more than 20 years later, Mary Rockett's cookbook contained the first known recipe for the Clarified Milk Punch. It explained how to curdle, clarify, and strain the drink's ingredients to produce a clear liquid. 

The cocktail gained popularity right away and was favored by notable figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Charles Dickens, and even Queen Victoria, who appointed commercial producers Nathaniel Whisson & Co. as the official supplier of Milk Punch to Her Majesty. In the year 2023, enthusiasts of craft cocktails are once again drawn to the clarified cocktail.

New Orleans Style Milk Punch

When it comes to preparation, the New Orleans-style milk punch is unquestionably the easiest. Although Clarified Milk Punch dates back to the 1600s, Brennan's, a French Quarter restaurant that has been making it for guests since the 1940s, is largely responsible for its rise in popularity in South America. Even though the New Orleans-style Milk Punch isn't as widely known as its clarified counterpart, people still choose it for brunches and after-dinner cocktails.

This type of punch is extremely easy to prepare: Shake over ice with whole milk, bourbon or brandy, vanilla extract, and ground nutmeg. Sweeten with powdered sugar or simple syrup. After mixing thoroughly, transfer the mixture into an Old Fashioned glass, either without ice or with it, and sprinkle nutmeg or cinnamon on top.

Milk punch

Preparing English Style Milk Punch

A variety of spirits, teas, botanicals, fruits, liquors, and milk are combined to create the Clarified Milk Punch, which is essentially just milk that has been clarified before serving to give it a crystal-clear appearance. 

There are two main methods for preparing Milk Punch: integral and non-integral breaks. In the integral break, alcohol is added to a tea and milk mixture, and the mixture is then allowed to curdle before being strained to remove any remaining solids. The non-integral break combines milk with fruit, teas, botanicals, and liquor that has already been strained, curdled and clarified.

Convenience plays a major role in the growing popularity of the English-style Milk Punch behind the bar. Because pre-batched Milk Punch has an extended shelf life and doesn't require clarifying milk, which even brisk bartenders can't accomplish in the middle of a shift, it can be served almost immediately during service. Even though there are countless recipes accessible to at-home bartenders to make their own, the beauty of Milk Punch is that it can be customized to your taste preferences or the components that you have on hand.

Milk punch

Make Your Own Milk Punch With This Simple Recipe


1. 2 oz. Brandy
2. 1 Cup whole milk
3. 1-3 Tablespoon of confectioner sugar (add to taste)
4. Whole nutmeg in a grinder or ground nutmeg for garnishing


1. Mix every component except nutmeg in a cocktail shaker with ice. Cover and shake vigorously for one or two minutes, or until frothy. Tervis Tumbler can serve as a substitute for a cocktail shaker if you don't have a cocktail shaker. 

2. Pour through a strainer into a small glass with crushed ice. Garnish it with nutmeg. If you don't have any crushed ice, you can make some by pounding some ice with a hammer.

Voila! Your drink is ready. Enjoy it with your friends and family.

If you are not a fan of brandy you can also use Bourbon. Either way, the outcome tastes great.

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