Mimi's Milk Punch
Not your grandmother's milk punch
This was my first experience with clarified milk punch, so to say that I was hesitant is an understatement. The thought of curdled milk even touching my cocktail is, well, why would anyone do that on purpose? It's a centuries old method that's stood the test of time, so let the experiment begin.
First, let's take a look at the fascinating history involved here. While the concept of clarifying cocktails with milk might seem strange today, it was actually quite popular from 1700 through the mid 1800s. Spirits back then were much rougher, unlike today's sophisticated options, and the clarification helped to soften the alcohol burn. The result is a silky, clear and softer sipper with just a hint of lactose influence.
The beauty of the process is that it's just a formula, and you can use pretty much any spirit (or combination thereof) you like. For my first venture I kept it simple and chose to go with cognac, as this was for Mother's Day and I wanted something elegant that my mom might actually drink. (spoiler: It's her new favorite cocktail)
Several people have told me this tastes just like a Dreamsicle popsicle – and I'd have to agree. The lactose gives it a silky smooth mouthfeel and the citrus really comes through. This is unlike anything else I've ever imbibed and I'll definitely be making a lot more. Don't be intimidated, this is extremely easy!
1 1/2 cups cognac (VSOP or VS)
1/2 cup Plantation Pineapple Rum
Lemon zest strips (from 1 lemon)
Orange zest strips (from 1 orange)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
1 cup brewed black tea
½ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
Carefully peel the rind away from 1 lemon and 1 orange. Place rinds in a large container and add 2 cups cognac. Seal or cover and set aside for 24-48 hours at room temperature.
Open container and remove fruit rinds from cognac. Discard rinds. Add sugar, water, black tea, lemon juice and orange juice to infused cognac in an 8-cup pitcher or large container. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Pour the cognac mixture into a large pitcher, then add 1 cup milk. Gently stir curds with a small spoon to distribute milk for about 10 seconds. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Once separation has occurred, line a fine-mesh strainer with a coffee filter. Pour the milk-cognac mixture carefully into the mesh strainer. The filter will catch the curds and let the clarified punch strain through slowly. When a filter will no longer let any more liquid through, swap with a new filter and continue the process. Once complete, strain the milk punch through a clean coffee filter once more.
Transfer the clarified milk punch to a sealable glass container and refrigerate. To serve, pour 3-4 oz of chilled punch into glass with a large cube. Cheers!