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Milk Punch: The Topic


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#1 trillium

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 11:16 AM

So I'm slowly working my way through Paul's cocktail book...instead of staying in my negroni, martini and manhattan rut. Daquari - check, Red Snapper - check, Pegu- check, Bronx - check, Petite Zinc - check, even a Cosmo ferchristsakes and I'm not a vodka drinker. But last night, in search of the mundane, as my week had started out anything but, I mixed myself up a Milk Punch. I was thinking comforting, in a bourbon and dairy sort of way. Kinda a grown up white russian. I'll admit up front that I was feeling lazy and didn't shake it over ice but rather mixed it up in the glass with the intention of putting ice cubes in and just letting it sit for a while. But when I poured the half and half (it was that or 1%) into the bourbon it turned into something pretty unappetizing. The half and half was fresh, but it, well, I wouldn't say curdled, but it got thick and strange. Mixing ice in alleviated the problem somewhat, and with enough fresh grated nutmeg, I drank it, but it's not something I could ever imagine drinking on a regular basis. Are there any milk punch drinkers out there? Is it supposed to get thick like that?

regards,
trillium

#2 MatthewB

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 11:31 AM

It's been quite a while since I've made that drink. When I did make it, it was Paul's receipt.

FWIW, my favorite three cocktails are negronis, martinis, & manhattans. Our cocktail tastes are on par.

I don't remember my Milk Punch as being oddly thick but I do remember that I had little interest in ever making it again. Obviously, I haven't made it again.

Want me to check the old chestnuts (Waldorf-Astoria Barbook, etc.) to see if Paul tinkered with the receipt?

#3 cdh

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 11:52 AM

I am a fan of milk punch and the like... I've never noticed a thickening like you describe. I use 2% milk just like I pour over my breakfast cereal, and it maintains its consistency.
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#4 trillium

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 12:22 PM

It's been quite a while since I've made that drink.  When I did make it, it was Paul's receipt.

FWIW, my favorite three cocktails are negronis, martinis, & manhattans.  Our cocktail tastes are on par.

I don't remember my Milk Punch as being oddly thick but I do remember that I had little interest in ever making it again.  Obviously, I haven't made it again.

Want me to check the old chestnuts (Waldorf-Astoria Barbook, etc.) to see if Paul tinkered with the receipt?

How nice, a cocktail twin... if you can get your hands on Seville oranges next year, I highly recommend the Bronx made with Carpano Antica formula sweet vermouth (it makes great manhattans too). Very tasty, but unfortunately seasonal.

I'd love to see what you can find in the Waldorf-Astoria barbook, and I'm jealous you have one. The best I can do is the Esquire's Guide for Hosts. (So quaintly sexist...)

Maybe it was my half-and-half. I suppose I should try it with whole or 2% milk.

regards,
trillium

#5 MatthewB

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 12:26 PM

Well, I guess it's MatthewB's eGullet research day. :biggrin:

I'm off to reshelve the books I pulled for cdh on the lamb thing.

And to pull some cocktail books to find out about Milk Punch . . .

#6 MatthewB

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 01:12 PM

First off, Harrington's receipt does call for milk, not half & half. But you know that.

Albert S. Crockett in The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book (publication date: 1934) includes a receipt for Milk Punch, as follows:

One jigger Whiskey (or Brandy)
One-half spoon Sugar
Fill three-quarters with Milk
Ice; shake; strain; serve with Nutmeg

Patrick Gavin Duffy (The Official Mixer's Manual, 1934) provides a generic Milk Punch recipe that covers the following Milk Punches: Applejack, Bacardi Rum, Bourbon, Brandy, Grenadine, Jamaica Rum, Rye, Scotch, & "any other liquor with milk":

1 Glass Sweet Milk, 1 tablespoon of Powdered Sugar and 1 Drink of any Liquor desired.  Shake well with cracked ice for about three minutes, strain into a glass and serve with Nutmeg or a piece of Lemon or Orange Peel on top.

Duffy also includes "Milk Punch No. 1" but that's going in a bit different direction.

Now comes the twist. Harrington traces the drink to New Orleans. But the vernerable Charles Baker (The Gentlemen's Companion, 1939) offers a receipt "Dated from Peking, April 1931" for "Tiger's Milk"--three different recipes, No. 1, No. 2, & No. 3 of which he claims preference for No. 1. He notes, "This we consider the most amazing milk drink we ever tasted."

The main thing in No. 1: Never use anything but really good aged brandy, champagne fine, not the usual cognac.  The latter doesn't do the job properly.

Command 2 1/2 jiggers old liqueur brandy, or champagne fine, and put this in a shaker.  Add 1 to 2 tsp. of sugar or grenadine, to taste, 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 cups of milk--nothing else; no trimmings.  Shake with several big pieces of ice and strain into a goblet.  A dash of cinnamon or nutmeg is optional, but not originally authentic.  We came, we saw, we drank.  And later we imported a certain black eyed Russian peril, managed 1 for her; and we recall her first remark in syllables slightly husky, wholly charming, the slightly accented English slick as cream.  "And do you now, mah frrrrahn, thees dreenk eet iss--how shall I say eet?--'food, dreenk, and lodging,' all at zee same tam!" . . . True, ma soeur, true!


A very very quick look (I may have missed something) in The Savoy Cocktail Book & Schumann's American Bar turned up nothing concerning Milk Punch.

#7 jackal10

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 01:44 PM

I think Milk Punch is much older than that.
In my copy of "Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks" William Terrington published by Routledge 1869 gives three recipes (which I think I can assume are out of copyright).
In the first recipe (and maybe the last) the milk I think was deliberately curdled by the acid in the lemon juice, then filtered so only the clear whey remained. The second is served warm and is more like egg-nog.


Bannister's Milk Punch of 1829 (who or what Bannister was is not stated) - Pare 18 lemons very thin; steep the same three days in 1 quart best old rum; then add 2 quarts best brandy, the juice of 9 Seville Oranges and 9 lemons, 3 quarts of water, 3lbs of double refined sugar and 2 grated nutmegs; when the sugar is dissolved, mix thoroughly; add 2 quarts scalded milk; cover and let stand two hours; then clear it through a tammy and bottle. When required it should be iced 20 minutes before drinking.

Cambridge Milk Punch - Boil in 2 quarts of new milk 1 dozen bitter almonds, and paring of 2 lemons, and 1/2lb loaf sugar; when well flavoured, strain clear and keep warm; stir in the well-whisked whites of 3 eggs which have been mixed with a little cold milk; while still stirring add 1/2pt of rum and 1pt of brandy; mull the punch to a froth and serve immediately in glasses.

Milk Punch for Immediate Use - 1/2 pint strained lemon juice, 3 drops esence of lemon; 1 gill of ginger syrup; 1 gill of real (or mock) arrack; 1 1/2 pint of brandy 1/2 pint of rum, 1lb of loaf sugar; dissolve the essence in the spirit; mix together; add 1/2 pint boiling water; in quarter of an hour add 3 pints of boiled milk; strain through a tammy; add 1/2 oz isinglass when clarified, serve.

Edited by jackal10, 21 May 2003 - 01:57 PM.


#8 MatthewB

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 01:57 PM

Harrington notes the research of Caroline Moore who attributes the drink to Aphra Behn (1640-1689).

Obviously that's earlier than Baker's experience in 1931. I was conjuring that it might have been difficult for a Behn recipe to end up in early 20th century Peking. But I've no idea.

jackal10, I wonder if the punches that you've noted (and thanks, BTW!) might be a different animal? Or, perhaps, the later recipes--without the acid--were fashioned to provide easier creation in early 20th century bars?

Duffy's "Milk Punch No. 1" is closer to the "acid-based recipes" as it includes lemon juice, lemon rinds, & a pineapple.

#9 jackal10

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 02:02 PM

Looking at the recipes again I wonder if they weren't thick, like a syllabub, escept the first definately says strained and then bottled. The last looks more like a a solid jelly like consistency set with the isinglass, except that isinglass was traditionally used to fine (clear) beer. Again I'd expect it to be filtered.

I hate to think they were the fore-runners of Brandy Alexanders or (shudder) Baileys...

#10 MatthewB

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 02:05 PM

Or perhaps the "acid-based" Milk Punches were syllabubs--and, thus perhaps, the forerunners of eggnog. Which is a different beast than the original receipt that started this thread.

Edit: added bold emphasis

Edited by MatthewB, 21 May 2003 - 02:06 PM.


#11 trillium

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 02:08 PM

Facinating stuff. I was wondering if the curdled bits in what I made were supposed to be strained out when you shake it and pour it through the strainer...

I'm guessing that the milk they're talking about in the recipes cited in MatthewB and jackal10's posts is fresh, raw whole milk. When I used the half and half instead of 1% I did it under the assumption that my half and half was closer to "real" milk then my 1%, but in retrospect, I may have been wrong. I looked up the fat content of half and half and it varies from 10 - 18%, while whole milk is around 3 - 4%.

As an aside, I think Paul Harrington doesn't attribute the drink's invention to New Orleans, but rather says that they adopted it as a regional drink in the 19th century. That was my interpertation anyway. The next time I'm in NO, I'll have to get out in the morning and order one, maybe I need to compare what I made to one done right. The problem is that I'm usually up too late the night before drinking Sazeracs.

regards,
trillium

#12 MatthewB

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 02:11 PM

As an aside, I think Paul Harrington doesn't attribute the drink's invention to New Orleans, but rather says that they adopted it as a regional drink in the 19th century.

Your interpretation might be better. I was skimming more than reading. Thanks.

#13 nightscotsman

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 10:04 AM

I had me a glass of the Harrington recipe Milk Punch last night. Quite nice, though I did add a tiny bit more simple syrup to smooth it out a tad. Much ligher and more refreshing than an egg nog, but still a little creamy and comforting from the milk. I used whole milk and got no curdling.

#14 trillium

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 06:16 PM

I had me a glass of the Harrington recipe Milk Punch last night. Quite nice, though I did add a tiny bit more simple syrup to smooth it out a tad. Much ligher and more refreshing than an egg nog, but still a little creamy and comforting from the milk. I used whole milk and got no curdling.

Ok, no curdling...hmmm...maybe my half and half is the culprit. What bourbon did you use? I thought the amount of symple syrup was too much and made the drink too sweet, but I was starting with Maker's Mark. Did you shake it first and then pour it over ice like you're supposed to? I guess this means I actually have to buy whole milk and a fresh carton of half and half and drink both and compare them?

regards,
trillium

#15 nightscotsman

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:13 PM

I used Jim Beam's Choice (the green label), all shaken together with ice and poured into a cocktail glass - no ice - with a quick grate of nutmeg on top. I wonder if it was the half and half that made it too sweet? The milk is not at thick tasting and the bourbon definitely dominates it.

#16 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 06:33 PM

Interested to get some feedback from working bartenders about single-glass Milk Punches. Questions:

Do you dry shake before adding ice?
Shake with cubes? crushed?
Dilution sought?
Garnishes? Nutmeg? Lemon?
Glass?
Served over crushed ice? Big cubes?
Straw? No?

Finally, several folks (Embury included) suggest that you can serve the same recipe hot or cold. True/not true?
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#17 Chris Amirault

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:51 PM

Jeepers: that popular, eh?

OK, how about this: for those of you who have enjoyed the beverage at restaurants, how are they served?
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#18 andiesenji

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:41 PM

I don't drink myself, but I am familiar with the Kentucky version of Bourbon milk punch.

This site has three versions with Bourbon
http://www.drinksmix.../drink1546.html

and with other spirits.

The Bourbon milk punch was a mainstay of the "Ladies Menu" at the Irvin S. Cobb Hotel in Paducah, KY, back when I was a child in the 1940s.
Considered a "genteel" ladies drink it was carried to the table on a silver tray and placed on a lace doily. (Ladies did not enter the bar.)
I never got to taste it but my grandmother and one of my aunts certainly appeared to enjoy it. My great-grandmother preferred the one made with sherry.
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#19 eje

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:26 AM

Chris,

Are you talking about prepared Milk Punches where the milk solids are removed?

Or stuff like Brandy Milk Punch? Just Milk, booze, and sugar?
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#20 Chris Amirault

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:15 PM

Sorry for the lack of clarification: the latter, Brandy Milk Punch-style drinks. That's the brunch drink, if I understand correctly, and not the one with the milk solids removed. Si? No?
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#21 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:20 PM

Milk Punch is not something that I have experimented with extensively, but I consider Jerry Thomas' version to be sufficiently delicious that I consider it a standard against which to measure other such items. If normal whole milk is used I don't see the need to dry shake (though I admit this is not a process I engage in as a matter of course anyway). Presumably the milk would be going into the shaker cold, and the amount of ice the Professor calls for is I think about right, measured more against the capacity of the drinking glass than anything. I normally use smallish ice, either crushed in my Waring at home or the regular (lame) bar ice at work on the rare occasions that I make one there. I just serve it with the ice it was shaken with.

The Milk Punch that survives with us today is not such a noble drink worthy of contemplation though...the White Russian and its bretheren. Whenever I want to roll my eyes at such an order though I stop and remind myself that it is descended from a completely legitimate beverage tradition.
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#22 Chris Amirault

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:26 PM

I have imagined saying, "If you like White Russians, you'll love this...."
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#23 andiesenji

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:31 PM

In my earlier post I included a link to a site that had recipes using various spirits as well as sherry for milk punch drinks.

After a chat with one of my aunts, who is even more elderly than me, she reminded me of my great-grandmother's other favorite sherry drink, a sherry flip, made with cream sherry (always Savory & James), so I did a search and found a recipe. The writer notes the precursor to eggnog was Dry Sack Posset and I had always read that a posset was milk curdled with wine - sounded awful to me.

http://www.artofdrin...sherry-flip.php

The most interesting bit to me about these alcoholic drinks was that my grandfather's farm, where I was born and raised, was located in a "dry" county, where the sale of any alcoholic beverage was illegal.

And of course there were the folk who believed in free enterprise and made their own. :rolleyes:
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#24 bmdaniel

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 09:13 PM

Been playing a bit with the Green Hour Milk Punch I made for the Absinthe MixMo. A little bit of Absinthe goes a long way in a drink, but it hammers home the point to me that milk punch is a great vehicle for showcasing a liqueur or other strongly flavored spirit. Another great example is the Tiger's Milk, which is a spectacular Apry vehicle.

Straight up milk punch (whether Brandy, Bourbon, Rum, or Sherry) is a great drink, but for some reason I think it's even more interesting as a showcase for another, harder to mix component,

#25 Ian McCarthy

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:16 AM

This might be off topic, but I have heard a few folks remarking in passing about aging strained milk punches, Where the milk solids have been allowed to curdle and are strained off. Looking for specifics in recipes has not yielded results.

Anyone have any experience with this? How long do you age? What are the results like?

#26 Danne

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 04:23 AM

I hope my bump of this topic is ok.

I've been trying to make (clear) Milk Punch 3 times now, atm I'm trying out Benjamin Franklins recipe from 1763. I've scaled it down so my recipe is:

7 cl    Brandy
½       Lemon zest

2,5 cl Lemon juice

5 cl    Water 

11 gr Sugar

3,5 cl Milk

Steep the peel in brandy for 24h and discard, mix brandy, juice, water and dissolve the sugar, boil the milk and pour it in. Let sit for 1 hour and then strain the curds. And it should come out clear, right?

Not mine tho, mine's cloudy, the last batch I made I strained 3 times through coffeefilters. I'm currently waiting to see if the solids will sink so that I can decant a clear liquid.

I've tried to let the milk curdle both longer and shorter time, I've done some experiments with lemon to milk ratios but I haven't got the clear result I've seen on pictures.

 

Am I doing something wrong? 



#27 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 07:28 AM

How are you zesting your lemons?  Are you getting quite a bit of pith with the zest, or just yellow?  I ask because the pith will add extra pectin to the mix, which could be a culprit in the clouding issue rather than the milk.


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#28 Danne

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 08:59 AM

Just zest, no pith.

The milks i've tried are regular 3% fat, 3% unhomogeniseded and I'm trying to find unpasteurized.
But I don't think the mils the issue since I've never seen it mentioned in new recipes. 



#29 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 09:26 AM

It might be the lemon juice that's the culprit, then.  Are you pressing fresh?  And are you straining out all of the pulp using a tea strainer?  That's another thing that can cause cloudiness.  If it's not that, then I'm not sure what's happening.


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#30 Kerry Beal

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:35 AM

I wonder if the dilution of the alcohol might be resulting in the precipitation of the essential oils from the lemon.  Could you try adding a touch of full strength brandy to a sample of your punch and see if it clears?