Milk punch hasn’t really received that much attention since the 19th century. A mixture made of milk, tea, citrus, honey and alcohol, it’s difficult to imagine what the concoction might taste like at face value.
Instead of being forgotten in a dusty recipe book on someone’s great-great-great grandmother’s shelf, though, the drink is currently experiencing a renaissance at Betony. Eamon Rockey, who runs the celebrated restaurant with chef Bryce Shuman, has “resurrected” the circa 1860s beverage as Joshua David Stein tells in our latest drinks issue.
So, how do these ingredients ultimately combine to make something delicious? We’ve condensed the normally 10- to 12-hour process into a 15 second video on our Instagram account. Here’s what’s happening:
1 quart very strong (double strength) chamomile tea
1 quart grapefruit juice
1 quart cold lemon juice
1 quart milk
1 pint honey
1 pint vodka
Makes about 3 quarts*
Combine tea, grapefruit juice, honey and vodka. Stir.
While avoiding scorching the milk, gently heat it in a sauce pan until it is boiling. Add the hot milk to the cold lemon juice to curdle the milk solids. Combine all ingredients and pour through a filter (e.g., a tablecloth, T-shirt, cheesecloth**) multiple times until the liquid is clear (depending on your filter, this can take hours).
Once the filtering is complete, cover and chill. According to Rockey, milk punch can “age like wine” and can “last months or years.”
To serve, Rockey suggests pouring 2 ounces of milk punch into a mixing glass and adding about 1.5 ounces of a spirit of your choosing (our writer chose white rum). If you want, sweeten to taste with sugar syrup. Stir with ice before serving over fresh ice.
*More protein means less yield. In other words, if you use whole milk, you will have less overall liquid than if you use skim.
**If you use a cheesecloth, you might need to weigh it down with either pie beads, whiskey stones, marbles, rocks… you get the picture.
You can read the full piece in print or online to learn more about Rockey’s inspiration for reviving what could have otherwise been a mostly forgotten beverage.
Video credit: Anna Cassell
Featured photo credit: Liz Clayman