Okay...I'll be the first to admit. When I first heard of the drink called Milk Punch I thought to myself "Does that even sound appealing?". However, being self proclaimed gastronomes, when we came upon this featured with our Easter Brunch meal this year, we just had to 1 - ask about it, and 2 - try it.
To set the stage, our lovely brunch for Easter Sunday this year was at Fin Seafood in Newport News, VA. We had the Banana Foster French toast with Macadamia nuts, Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict and She Crab Biscuits and Gravy with a Clarified Milk Punch to drink. Not pictured appetizer was deviled eggs with crab.
We had the pleasure of chatting with their mixologist, Robert Gregory, about the Milk Punch and other amazing specialty crafted drinks. You can read more about him and Fin here http://www.coastalvirginiamag.com/November-December-2017/Restaurants-Get-Innovative-With-Their-Cocktail-Programs/ . Milk punch photo above credit to coastal Virginia Magazine...As a testament to how good it was, we drank it to fast, before we could get a picture.
Robert Gregory shared with us the recipe and we began researching the history of this drink. Here is a good intro video that explains how the drink is made.
The Clarified Milk Punch is an old English drink, dating back to the early 1600's. The idea is that Milk is broken in the punch making process, using highly acidic ingredients. When the milk is broken, it acts as a natural filter, and when the broken milk is removed, what is left is just smooth, velvety goodness. We use the term broken, as it sounds more appealing than curdled. Yes, the milk is intentionally curdled in the process, but again, the curdled milk is completely removed as part of the process. Trust us, this drink is amazing. We'll warn you that the filtering process takes a long time. It is truly a labor of love. This is because you strain the liquid multiple times, through multiple layers of filter medium. We used cheesecloth, then nut milk bags and then finally paper towels and coffee filters. We found this really great article that explains a little more about it. That can be found here
The drink is made with Tea, Pineapple Juice, Lemon, and lot's of alcohol...usually 3-5 types. Due to the nature of this drink, alcohol that is sugar cane based works best, however, we had success with ours, using a combination of alcohols, including Bourbon. Why did we use Bourbon? Well, it's Bourbon, and it is our firmly held belief that everything is better with Bourbon.
Here is the finished product, when we made ours.
Clarified Milk Punch
Whole Pineapple, Peeled, Sliced
18 Cloves 60 Coriander Seeds
1 Stick Cinnamon
1 lb Caster Sugar (or powdered sugar)
20oz ESOP Cognac
10oz Cana Brava (white rum)
10oz Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum (or any overproofed rum)
5oz Bourbon (we use Jim Beam Black)
Quart of boiled water
1 cup of Strong Earl Grey Tea
Quart of high fat boiled milk
Fresh shaved nutmeg for garnish of finished drink
- Slice pineapple into small thin slices
- Then mash pineapple in bottom of large container to extract the juice from the pulp
- Grind Spices in spice grinder and add to container with pineapple
- Zest 2 lemons into the spice/pineapple mix
- Fresh squeeze the 2 lemons you zested, plus 4 additional lemons and add the juice to the pineapple mixture (you can also just add 12oz of fresh lemon juice)
- Add in Caster Sugar
- Next, add in the alcohols, followed by the boiling water and then the tea. You can substitute alcohols, just try to stick to sugar cane based alcohols. Give it a good mix at this time.
- Cover the liquid and put into the fridge for 1-14 days - the longer you let it steep, the better.
- After letting it steep, remove from fridge and add juice from 2 remaining lemons.
- Then, add in the quart of boiling milk.
Note: At this point, the milk will break or curdle. This is fine, and it acts as a natural filter.
- After you add the milk, stir it around, and then you will be ready to filter the punch
- To filter, you will want to strain the liquid through any type of nylon cloth (like an apron), or through a nut milk bag, etc. The more surface area you have to filter it, the better and quicker it will filter. If needed, you can strain it through coffee filters as well, just realize that the particulate matter in the punch that you are filtering out, does tend to clog filters, so be prepared to switch filters throughout the process.
- Once the punch is filtered, it should be a pale to clear yellow color. Transfer liquid to a storage vessel and serve over ice. We garnish ours with fresh shaved nutmeg.
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