I’ve been drinking a lot of Milk Punch these last couple weeks, as has nearly anyone that came over. Fall is in the air here and the flavors in this drink fit very nicely into my current state of mind. There is the warmth and sweetness from the rum and brandy. There is the warm spice note from the nutmeg. Then there is the warm and subtle, yet complex flavors from the vanilla. You seeing the same pattern here that I did? It’s all so warming on a chilled fall day. Perfect.
As I promised in my intro post I went in search of older recipes and found a few in the books on my shelves. However, I didn’t bother to mix any of them up. The reason being, they’re really not that much different. As Dr. Cocktail points out in his recipe, the only real difference is the addition of the vanilla extract. And, while I wouldn’t say the vanilla is essential it really adds a layer of complexity that I think you would wish were there were it omitted.
My other suggestions and tweaks are really very simple but key. First, I bumped up the simple syrup a bit because I like this drink a touch sweeter; more on the level of eggnog. However, as with any cocktail that’s something you should experiment with to find your happy balance. Second, use fresh grated nutmeg. I really can’t emphasize this one enough. The nuts keep for about a thousand years in their whole form and the flavor of fresh grated simply can’t be matched by something pre-grated. Heck, if you really don’t want to go buy some of your own, come over here, I’ll give you a couple. I have tons. It’s really that important. Third, use brandy and that you would be willing to drink on their own. I think this should go without saying, but I wanted to include it here to drive home a point. I feel cocktail making is like cooking with wine. In cooking you never use a wine you wouldn’t drink on it’s own. Same goes for cocktail making. That’s certainly not to say that you should use the best stuff you have on the shelf, but please don’t use crap ingredients. It really shows in the final product. Ok, enough ranting. You’ve got the idea.
Lastly, a tip. If you’re wondering how exactly one measures two dashes of vanilla extract or any other ingredient that doesn’t have a dasher here’s what I do. I use a cocktail straw. Dip it into the liquid, get as much as you want, cap the end with you finger, drop it into your shaker. For this drink I used two straw loads approximately 1/3 full each time. That gave me the vanilla level I like.
Milk Punch (Cocktail Hacker)
1 oz Brandy 1/2 oz Dark Rum 1/2 oz Simple Syrup 2 dashes Vanilla Extract 4 oz Whole Milk
1) Combine in a shaker with ice 2) Shake and strain into a shaved ice filled glass 3) Top with nutmeg
So, here’s what I suggest. If you’re in the northern hemisphere* and fall is closing it’s chilly hands around you, whip up a milk punch some evening. It’s warming and I bet you won’t have just one.
*Supposing you’re not in the northern hemisphere, or you’re reading about this recipe when it’s hot out, consider this idea. Brunch. Enough said.