Milk Punch Spiel

A friend sent me the following questions, and I realized I had never really gotten around to writing up my conclusions or hints after making many a batch of clarified Milk Punch.

“I’ve been thinking about how effective it would be to make a clarified milk “stock” of sorts: heat milk and add to lemon only, then refrigerate and strain through cheesecloth. Then wouldn’t you be able to develop recipes a lot more readily than overnight batches? Once you get the flavor down you could do it all the regular way to make it clearer. Would you have a general proportion to make this stock with? Also, it’s only the whey left, right? So it would be more expedient to use non-fat milk?”

Haven’t I ever given you my Milk Punch Spiel?

As far as I can tell, the primary reason to make Milk Punch is so punch can be bottled and put down in a cellar for later use.

This is why Charles Dickens ended up with bottles of Milk Punch in his cellar inventory when he died.

Adding milk and filtering the punch through the curdled milk solids does an amazing job at fining and filtration. It removes pretty much any impurities down to much of the color from barrel aging or caramel color.

You should have seen the apple punch I made before filtering. It literally looked like really brown, cloudy apple cider. Truly disgusting. I was dubious that the Milk could filter it! I wish I’d taken a picture, so I could have a before and after!

As a bonus, filtering through the milk solids does an amazing job of “rectifying” harsh spirits and marrying the various flavors of the punch.

I also believe that the cream in the Milk does a sort of fat washing, which gives some of the unctuous flavor you get for the punch. That is why I have always used whole milk.

I have also had the best results using Straus, as they don’t homogenize their milk.

When I’ve used other Milk, I’ve had a hard time getting clarity.

David Wondrich has suggested that the best way to filter Milk Punch is through a filter used for filtering Biodiesel. I’ve never really investigated, but from my cursory reading, it is possible that using the correct combination of filter mesh size and materials, you could do some sort of pressure filtration.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is using a centrifuge to separate the milk solids.

On the whole, though, the thing is, once you have a well developed milk mesh in your filter, it really is the Milk Solids which do the best job filtering the punch.

Anyway, I don’t know if just combining whey with punch base will really be even close to simulating Milk Punch.

For what it is worth, I understand that Dillon & Alex have made Milk Punches an important part of their work at Novella. Amusingly, when I last talked to Dillon, he was like, “What do you do with all the cheese?” Apparently, they are accumulating a lot of it.

Sadly, after acting as filtration for booze and the less nice elements of the punch, I do not really think you can do anything with the cheese. It just tastes nasty.

Over the 2013 holidays I visited a bar in Chicago. They were serving a basic brandy based clarified Milk Punch. Chatted a bit with the bar manager re: filtration and he said he makes a habit of leaving the milk in the Milk Punch overnight. That it makes filtration easier.

So, I made two batches based on the exact same infusion: one where I left the milk in overnight and another where I did my usual of only leaving the milk in for a half an hour and then filtering the punch through the solids.

He was right, the milk essentially turns to hard cheese, making getting the milk solids out of the punch really easy and filtration a breeze.

However, after filtering the milk solids out, the punch is not very clear with a lot of darkness from tea and spice floating around. I left it to sit over another night and it did settle out pretty well.

However, giving our restaurant manager a blind tasting between the two, he strongly preferred the one where I used my usual process.

The punch where I did the usual method has the unctuous nature that I enjoy and the ingredients taste mellowed and well integrated. The fruit in the punch is clear and much more apparent.

The overnight steep of milk tastes really harsh by comparison. Strongly of booze and the fruit is not as clear. Also, it seems much thinner, more bitter, and kind of nasty. Basically, like a not very good day old plain punch you have chilled in the refrigerator.

Breakfast Egg Nogg

Breakfast Egg Nogg
1 Fresh Egg.
1/4 Curacao. (1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb Liqueur)
3/4 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Osocalis Fine Alambic Brandy)
1/4 Pint Fresh Milk. (4 oz Meyenberg Goat’s Milk)
Shake well and strain into long tumbler. Grate nutmeg on top.

Continuing with the out of season Noggs, we have another example, this one with a slightly unusual sweetener, Orange Curacao.

Though I am unclear about exactly why sweetening with Orange Liqueur instead of Sugar makes this appropriate for breakfast.

The implication of Vitamin C?

Nothing wrong with the Breakfast Nogg, but my favorite remains the Baltimore Egg Nogg.

Safety Note: As with any recipe containing uncooked eggs, there is some small chance of salmonella. If that risk bothers you, use pasteurized eggs.

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

Egg Nogg

Egg Noggs.

The Egg Nogg is essentially an American Beverage, although it has been appreciated throughout the world for many years. Its introduction throughout Christmas time in the Southern States of America is traditional. In Scotland it is known as “Auld Man’s Milk.”

Egg Nogg
1 Egg.
1 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (Generous Teaspoon Caster Sugar)
1 Glass of any Spirit desired. (2 oz Banks 5 Island Rum)
Fill glass with Milk. (2 oz Meyerberg Goats’ Milk)
Shake well and strain into long tumbler. Grate a little nutmeg on top.

So, if a “Flip” is a Toddy (or Sling) plus an Egg, Egg Nogg is a Cold Toddy (or Sling) plus an egg and a good amount of Milk. Served Hot, Egg Nogg is a Tom and Jerry. Generally, you’ll see these with 1 to 2 (or more) times the Milk as the amount of spirits included. I try not to drink Cows Milk, so I am using equal parts Goats Milk to the Spirits.

Initially I was hoping to split the Spirits between the Banks 5 Island Rum and Barbancourt 5. Sadly, a miscalculation resulted in 2 oz of Banks 5 Island being poured into the mixing tin. Damn it! Well, I can’t say I was entirely pleased, as much as I like Banks 5 Island, I was really looking forward to a bit more of the aged rum taste.

To be honest, Barbancourt 5 Star is about my favorite rum for Egg Nogg, so I was pretty disappointed to have mis-measured the Banks 5 Island. I guess I could have made two Noggs.

Still, the Batavia Arrack in the Banks 5 Island gave this version of Egg Nogg a lot of character, for better or for worse.

Regarding safety: As with any recipe containing uncooked eggs, there is some small chance of salmonella. If that risk bothers you, use pasteurized eggs.

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

White Plush Cocktail

White Plush Cocktail
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
1 Liqueur Glass Maraschino. (1 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino)
1/2 Pint of Milk. (8 oz Meyenberg Whole Goat Milk)
Shake well and strain into long tumbler.

Gin, Maraschino, and Milk? My stomach churned at the thought.

My constitution doesn’t really get along with regular milk in any quantity. I stopped drinking Milk way back in college, so there was no way I was making this as written. However, when I was examining the Dairy at our local grocery, I noticed this Whole Goats Milk. Hey! If I have to drink it, I bet I could drink the White Plush with Goats Milk.

Oof, though, Mrs. Flannestad took many pictures, trying to get them to turn out on her digital camera. She kept saying, “Again! Again! I didn’t get the picture. Drink more Milk! Again! Again!”

Got Milk?

Eventually, I had to say, “enough!” I just couldn’t drink any more Milk, even Goat Milk. Not that the White Plush was bad, exactly, but jeez. Enough Milk, is enough.

The main executional problem with the White Plush is that this is just too much volume for most shakers, especially after it is all foamy. And who knew Goat Milk would be so foamy? Didn’t really work at all in the usual 18/28 double metal tin. Maybe with a Mako Shaker on top of a 28 oz tin?

Definitely in the, “It could have been worse, but I wouldn’t do it again, unless you were paying me,” category of Savoy Cocktails.

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.

Bernal Heights Milk Punch, July 2010

First off, our next Savoy Cocktail Book night will take place at Alembic Bar August 1st. I hope to see you there!

There’s occasionally confusion about the exact nature of Savoy Cocktail Book night.

A few years ago, the bartenders at Alembic started an event called Savoy Cocktail Book night.

When one of the bartenders left, it sort of fell out of practice.

After they had stopped holding them, I was talking to Daniel Hyatt, bar manager at Alembic, and telling him they should go back to holding the event.

He suggested, if they were going to hold Savoy Cocktail Book night, that I should join them in hosting the event.

Well, twist my arm!

We restarted the monthly Savoy Cocktail Book nights in December of 2008, and have been holding them every month since.

When I’ve talked to people about the event, they are sometimes under the mis-apprehension that we only make a select number of Savoy Cocktails.

That is not the case.

The bar staff at Alembic and I have done our best to find or make every ingredient called for in the book, from Prune Syrup to Kummel to Hercules.

For the evening of the event, The Alembic puts away its regular menu and instead hands out copies of the Savoy Cocktail Book.  We do our best to make any of the 900, or so, cocktails you might order from the book, from Abbey to the Sauterne Cup.

There are a few exceptions: We don’t make cocktails from the 1999 introduction to the book, mostly because they are uniformly horrible and call for ingredients completely at odds with the rest of the book. Passion Fruit Nectar, Banana Schnapps and the like.  We also sometimes can’t make cocktails due to seasonality of the ingredients or because they call for the ingredients to be steeped two hours before the cocktail is served.

We also usually will make a punch or two, though we cannot promise to be able to make any punch in the book a la minute.

In this week’s case, I’m going to be bringing a version of the Savoy Cocktail Book’s “Milk Punch”, which is a reprint of Jerry Thomas’ California Milk Punch recipe.

Amazingly, I’ve been making versions of this Milk Punch for over a year now!

First batch was in June of 2009: Bernal Heights Milk Punch, June 2009

However, until now I have never attempted going full bore and using Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum and Batavia Arrack in the same batch.

Bernal Heights Milk Punch, July 2010

Ingredients:
1 750ml bottle Cognac Park V.S.O.P. (I feel a bit bad about this, but it was the cheapest decent brandy they had at Cask, the only liquor store located near a convenient public transport route and which stocks S&C and Batavia Arrack. You gotta do…)
1 750ml Bottle Smith & Cross Jamaica Rum.
1/2 750ml Bottle Batavia Arrack von Osten.
Peel 4 lemons.
Juice 6 lemons, strained
1 pineapple, chopped and crushed.
6 cloves, crushed.
1 cinnamon stick (cassia).
3 Green Cardamom Pods, crushed.
10 Coriander Seeds, crushed.
4 teaspoons Darjeeling Tea.
16 oz Water.
1/2 # Florida Crystals Natural Sugar.
1 quart Straus Family Creamery Whole Milk.

Method:
Peel lemons and add to Brandy.  Juice 4 lemons and chop pineapple.  Add to rums (including Arrack).  Allow both to infuse for at least 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.

If you’re interested in tasting what funky Jamaica Rum and Batavia Arrack will do in the same punch, stop by Alembic Bar, Sunday, August 1st during our Savoy Cocktail Book night, 6 until around Midnight.

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.

Rum Hibiscus Milk Punch

Hibiscus Milk Punch

Continuing with my series of photos deemed “too dark” or “poorly composed” for tastespotting.

;-)

Le Sigh.  I will attempt to move on from my bitter, bitter disappointment at having all my photo submissions rejected by tastespotting.  If they don’t want them, so be it.

This is a follow up to the Rum Hibiscus Milk Punch post of a few days ago.

The general consensus is Drink’s Rum Hibiscus Milk Punch is very tasty.  It’s ridiculously drinkable.

Almost no one can identify the dairy character before being told the “secret ingredient”.  After being told they are usually able to identify the slight lactic acid tang and smell.  My boss at work thought we should make it for the week that sommeliers gather in San Francisco for some exam, just to screw with them.  “Looks like Rose Wine, tastes like, uh, delicious punch.”  “But can you tell us the secret ingredient?”

About all I’d say is I get a bit tired of it after a couple glasses.  It’s complex, but kind of unidirectional.  I think it would be significantly improved by using a Rum with more character than the El Dorado White.  Maybe the Barbancourt White, some portion of White Rhum Agricole, or even Wray & Nephew Overproof.

Rum Hibiscus Milk Punch

A friend, and coworker, of mine recently wrote about a curdled milk experiment of hers on this post: Whey

Being, uh, a competitive sort, I couldn’t let this sort of thing go unchallenged.

Well, not really.

I’d read these sorts of “Milk Punch” recipes for a long time now, and always wanted to try one.  I just didn’t know if they were good or just weird.

I’d also recently read on Lauren Clarke’s blog, (Milk Punch,) that bartenders at Drink in Boston (well, Fort Point,) were experimenting with a Hibiscus Milk Punch. Frederic from Cocktail Virgin Slut also recently wrote up Milk Punches on their post: Hibiscus White Rum Milk Punch

With all these people making Milk Punches, there’s no way I could not experiment with one. I more or less followed the recipe from Drink.

1 bottle (750 ml.) White Demerara Rum
Pared rind of 1 orange
Pared rind of 2 lemons
1/4 cup tablespoon dried Hibiscus Flowers (Also called “Jamaica” or “Sorrel”. Available at Latin American and Caribbean stores.)
1 1/2 cup 2-1 Simple Syrup made from Natural Cane Sugar
1 cup fresh Lime juice, strained
2 cups Straus Farms Whole Milk
1/2 stick Mexican Cinnamon, crushed
4 whole Cloves, crushed

Place citrus peels in rum for 24 hours. Add Hibiscus flowers and let sit for another 24 hours.

Add cinnamon and cloves to Milk and heat to 180 degrees.

Strain citrus peels and hibiscus out of rum.

Add sugar syrup and lime juice to rum.

Add heated milk to rum and let stand until it curdles (1/2 hour or so).

Curdled

Set a strainer over stainless container and line with layers of cheese cloth. Strain mixture through cheesecloth and then bottle in a clean container. I am not sure what to do with the curdled milk solids. It is more or less boozy, sweet, cottage cheese.

Freshly Strained

The next day, more milk solids will likely settle out.

Detritus

Pour the clear liquid off, leaving the solids behind. Strain through a coffee filter or similar and bottle. The resulting liquid will be pretty clear and look more or less like Rose Wine.  The recipe makes a bit more than a liter of punch.

Racked Off

The folks at Drink suggest serving this in a small sherry type glass.

Ichbien Cocktail

Osocalis Brandy

I continue on my bizarrely Wisconsinite struggle to define my ideal Cognac/Brandy. I’ve discarded some early predilections (Korbel VSOP, E&J, etc.) and tried to move things a bit more cosmopolitan. I can’t say my early flirtations with California Brandies have been entirely successful. Germain-Robin’s alembic brandy seeming a bit tedious after drinking a whole bottle. The French. There’s some sort of French Chortling sound here. Oh, the French. I do like Pierre Ferrand Cognac and Cerbois Armangac. Ah, but the exchange rate. It seems like they go up $5 every month!

So here we are today.

Osocalis have been distilling brandy for about 10 years. They released their first brandy in 2006. I’m just getting around to tasting it now, and it is pretty darn OK. I’m no expert, but I like that there is a bit of the flavor of the wine in the spirit. It’s a bit tart and, well, winey. Definitely on the young and feisty side, which is OK by me.

To get around to Savoy Cocktails…

Ichbien Cocktail

Ichbien Cocktail

The Yolk of 1 Egg.
1 Port-wine Glass Milk. (2 oz Half and Half)
1/4 Orange Curacao. (1/4 oz Luxardo Triplum)
3/4 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Osocalis Brandy)

Shake well and strain into medium size glass, with nutmeg on top.

I’m not normally a big milk cocktail fan, but I liked, and finished, this.

I guess if it were Scotch instead of Brandy, it would be “Auld Man’s Milk”. Thanks! Old man eje says, “Lovely and perfect.”

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.