Milk Punch No. 1

You may remember that a couple weeks ago I made a Hibiscus Milk Punch based on a recipe I read on another blog.

The whole thing was a bit of a leap of faith, given I’d never made anything similar or even tried it.

However, it turned out so well, I thought I should turn back the clock a bit further and investigate an older recipe for Milk Punch. So when Daniel Hyatt suggested we make some punches for one of our Savoy Cocktail Book night at Alembic, I thought I would make Savoy Milk Punch No. 1. Upon investigation, it turns out it is based on a recipe from the 1862 version of Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide.

The recipe from Mr. Thomas is as follows.

California Milk Punch.
(For Bottling.)
Take the juice of four lemons.
The rind of two lemons.
½ pound of white sugar, dissolved in sufficient hot water.
1 pineapple, peeled, sliced and pounded.
6 cloves.
20 coriander seeds.
1 small stick of cinnamon.
1 pint of brandy.
1 pint of Jamaica rum.
1 gill of Batavia Arrack.
1 cup of strong green tea.
1 quart of boiling water.
1 quart of hot milk.

Put all the materials in a clean demijohn, the boiling water to be added last; cork this down to prevent evaporation, and allow the ingredients to steep for at least six hours; then add the hot milk and the juice of two more lemons; mix, and filter through a jelly-bag; and when the punch has passed bright, put it away in tight-corked bottles.

This punch is intended to be iced for drinking. If intended for present use filtering is not necessary.

California Milk Punch

Using Mr. Thomas recipe as a starting point:

Bernal Heights Milk Punch
1 qt Osocalis Brandy.
1 pt Appleton V/X.
1 pt Coruba.
1 pt Batavia Arrack von Osten.
Peel 4 lemons.
Juice 6 lemons, strained
1/2 pineapple, chopped and crushed.
6 cloves.
1 cinnamon stick (cassia).
5 Green Cardamom Pods, Crushed.
4 teaspoons Lung Ching Dragonwell Tea.
16 oz Water
1/2 # Florida Crystals.
1 quart Straus Family Creamery Whole Milk.

Peel lemons and add to Brandy.  Juice 4 lemons and crush pineapple.  Add to rums (including Arrack).  Allow both to infuse for 48 hours.

Heat water and add spices and tea. After it has steeped for 10 minutes, strain. Add sugar, stir to combine, and cool.

Juice other two lemons and add to pineapple, lemon, and rum mixture. Heat milk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Add to Rum, lemon, and pineapple mixture. Allow to stand for 30 minutes and filter through cheesecloth. Strain brandy mixture off peels. Combine Rum mixture, brandy mixture, and syrup. Cool, bottle in clean containers, and chill over night. Filter again through coffee filters, leaving any sediment which has collected in the bottom of the containers behind.  Makes about 3 quarts.

Perhaps not so oddly, I misremembered the recipe and used Cardamom instead of Coriander. But I really like the clove/cardamom nexus, so not a bad thing.  I needed some pineapple and pineapple juice for another cocktail this week, so only used half for the punch.  More pineapple wouldn’t hurt.  The initial division of the infusions was just a result of the size of my containers, but actually seemed to help with getting a firmer curd from the milk solids.  If I had to do it again, I’d do it the same way.

The water amounts didn’t really make sense to me for starting with 80 proof booze. My guess is Thomas was working with cask strength liquors, to require that much dilution. So I adjusted a bit. Perhaps a bit too much, as according to Mrs. Flannestad, this ended up a bit strong and boozy.  Depending on your perspective, that may be bad or good.

Very good response to the punch at Alembic’s Savoy Cocktail Book night last Sunday, so if you’re feeling adventurous give it a try.  I don’t think you’ll regret it.  We just served it over ice with a splash of soda.  It would make a fantastic highball!

Even though I can now cross this off the list of Savoy punches I need to make, I have a feeling I’ll be making this Milk Punch again some time soon.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

9 thoughts on “Milk Punch No. 1

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  6. Erik, in looking through the Jerry Thomas this seems to be the recipe for English Milk Punch in the 1862, and just changes name in the 1887 reprint. Any idea/word on when/why that happened?

    • Huh, that’s an interesting observation.

      I don’t know enough about the history of the editions of Thomas’ book to speculate, be a good question for David Wondrich.

      Erik E.

      • .@DavidWondrich Jerry Thomas’ 1862 “English Milk Punch” recipe changed to “CA Milk Punch” in the 1867 edition. Any idea why?

        .@DavidWondrich Someone posed this question in a comment on my blog, I don’t know enough about the editions to even speculate.

        David Wondrich @DavidWondrich 1m

        .@ellestad Already thus by 1866, when it turns up in Monzert’s Independent Liquorist + newspapers. Not sure why & no point in guessing.

        .@ellestad Milk Punch seems to have been popular in early SF; there was even a “Milk Punch House” on the Mission road. May factor in.

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