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Clarified Milk Punch

Updated: Jun 25, 2023


Classic milk punch served with cinnamon and nutmeg

Clarify Milk Punch is one of the industry's oldest and most popular drinks. This drink is often referred to as milk punch, which is confusing since milk punch is usually served with grated nutmeg on top and shaken over ice with milk. It's far different from the clear, silky liquid we're talking about.


A common misconception is that clarified milk punch first appeared in Jerry Thomas' Bar-Tender's Guide (also called How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant's Companion) in 1862, but that's incorrect as well. Clarified milk punch existed for almost a century before the word cocktail was invented. It was extremely popular in eighteenth-century England since it had a long shelf life and was an effective way to mask the harsh flavor of home-distilled liquors. One of the earliest known clarified milk punch recipes was written in 1711 by housewife Mary Rockett.


Add two gallons of hot milk to a gallon of brandy, five quarts of water, eight lemons, and two pounds of sugar. Let the mixture sit for an hour, then strain it through a flannel bag.

The drink was delicious, and versatile, and could be kept for months without refrigeration.


It is also believed that Benjamin Franklin sent his recipe for milk punch to Charles Dickens in 1763. A bottle of Franklin's milk punch was discovered in Dickens' wine cellar over a century later, and it was still drinkable!


 


How to make a Clarified Milk Punch

A class showing a clarified milk punch served with lemon peel and nutmeg

Clarified milk punch is made by curdling dairy solids, which makes it easier to strain them out using cheesecloth or fine mesh. Since this can take hours, clarified milk punch can't be made “made to order.” But it's cheap, easy, and doesn't spoil (for years if kept cool).


It's all about clarifying milk punch these days. Bartenders make it from all sorts of ingredients and it's often sold as an expensive drink when it's pretty cheap to make. So one would argue that it's labor-intensive to justify the price, but this technique is a great way to repurpose ingredients that wouldn't be suitable for the bar otherwise.


From old garnish, discarded fruits, or old bottles of liqueur that had been sitting on the shelf for too long. Milk punches can even be made from old pre-batch cocktails left from old menus or events and is a simple way to smooth out harsh liquors too. Let's see how to make a clarified milk punch.



Milk For The Angry

The drink was made to celebrate Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy at the Soho Whisky Club, where I paired the nine circles of hell with unique cocktails and rare whiskeys. Milk For The Angry represents the fifth circle of Dante's Inferno, Wrath & Sullenness, a spicy, smoky but silky smooth drink. I recommend reading the book to get the full meaning of the circle. By contacting me here, you can also book the same experience for a private event.


Picture of clarified milk punch for the recipe Milk For The Angry by Michele Reina

For 1 liter = 16.6 60ml serves

300ml Yellowstone Select
50ml Pimento Dram Liquor
200ml Lapsang Souchong tea 
200ml Whole milk
100ml Lemon Juice
200g sugar
1 Pineapple
  1. Slice the pineapple into medium-sized pieces, and save the center and outer parts for making Tepache, pineapple tea, just a simple fertilizer.

  2. In a zip bag or container, put 200 grams of sugar over the pineapple, then seal it. Put it in the fridge and let it sit overnight.

  3. When the pineapple chunks are covered in syrup, smash them with a spoon to get all the juice out. This process of extraction is called oleo saccharum and it can be used with any fruit and even citrus zests. Strain out the bits and add 300ml of Yellowstone Select and 50ml of Pimento Dram liquor.

  4. Resist! It would smell and taste so delicious at this point. With a couple of dashes of aromatic bitters, this is practically a ready-to-drink Pineapple Old Fashioned but we're here for the punch, so focus!

  5. Put 200ml of hot Lapsang Souchong tea in the punch, then add 100ml of lemon juice while it's still hot.

  6. In a saucepan, warm 200ml of whole milk without boiling it.

  7. Put the hot milk in the mixture and watch it curdle. It will look horrible, but it will taste and look delicious after a few days. Just keep it closed in the fridge and be patient.

  8. The day after, the heavy protein of the milk should have separated from the rest of the liquid. Now it's time to filter it with a muslin cloth. Make sure you repeat this step until you get a clear liquid.

 

Clarified milk punch from premix cocktails

Most bars make premix cocktails for events or cocktail menus, and the result is lots of leftover premixes that are often drunk by staff or given to returning customers. I'll show you how to make money with that premix stuff.


  1. Combine all the leftover premixes, making sure the drink has the right balance of acidity and sweetness. Add sugar syrup or lemon juice if necessary.

  2. Add hot tea and lemon juice into the mix.

  3. Follow steps 6/7/8 from Milk For The Angry.

 

Tepache from pineapple scraps

Delicious and refreshing, tepache is a Mexican drink made from fermented pineapple. It's traditionally made from pineapple rinds, but you can also use pineapple scraps like the one we saved for our punch! Making tepache out of discarded pineapple is a great way to reduce food waste and enjoy a tasty, healthy drink at the same time. You can make your homemade tepache with a few simple ingredients and a little patience.


To make tepache with discarded pineapple, you will need the following ingredients:

4 cups Pineapple scraps (rind, core, and any leftover fruit)
1/2 cup brown sugar or piloncillo*
1 Cinnamon stick
4 Cloves
Water

*Piloncillo (or Desi Gur) is a natural product derived from sugarcane. It's more unrefined than sugar.


Instructions:

  1. Make sure the pineapple scraps are rinsed well. Cut them up and put them in a large glass jar.

  2. You can add brown sugar or piloncillo to the jar, depending on how sweet you like it. Use about 1/2 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of pineapple scraps.

  3. Spice up the tepache by adding cinnamon sticks and cloves.

  4. Make sure the pineapple scraps and spices are covered with water. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

  5. Put the mixture in a jar and cover it with a clean cloth or cheesecloth. Let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 days.

  6. The mixture should be bubbly after 2-3 days, with a slightly sour smell. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth.

  7. Let the tepache chill for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving. Serve over ice with pineapple or mint sprigs.


What's your opinion on the price?

What should it be?

Affordable since the ingredients are versatile or expensive given how long it takes to prep?




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