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Punch Up Your Holidays with a Milk Punch

Silky smooth. Delightfully tart. Boozy. This cocktail will make you holiday-entertaining royalty.
By Published Dec. 23, 2021

Milk punch. Is it punch? Yes. With milk? Kind of. Whatever the case, it makes for a tasty cocktail just strong enough to add a festive rosy tint to your cheeks.

Milk punch isn’t opaque and creamy like Eggnog or a White Russian. Rather, it's silky-textured and clear, with mellow, harmonious flavors, thanks to a clarification process. Clarified milk punch goes all the way back to 17th-century England and was a way to make larger batches of alcoholic mixed drinks that could be stored for extended periods of time without refrigeration.

Milk punch is a great make-ahead recipe for entertaining. The base starts with lots of citrus, followed by milk. Don’t cringe! The milk curdles in the presence of the acidic ingredients and then the punch is strained to remove the curds (we opt for a double layer of coffee filters for the clearest results).

Stay with me! This drink packs a punch, but not enough to knock you off your barstool. The clarification process smooths out and softens any rough edges, balancing itself into a cozy, harmonious sip. It also preserves it from spoilage for up to one month!

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I recently made Milk Punch for the first time and I’m telling you, it’s worth it. This complex cocktail is full-bodied with the color of chardonnay and the flavors of soft oak and citrus. Perfect for sipping while cozied up by the fire, reading A Christmas Carol (after all, Charles Dickens was known to love milk punch).

Milk Punch

Makes 12 cocktails

  • 15 (3-inch) strips lemon zest plus 6 ounces juice (4 lemons)
  • 8 ounces Citrus Syrup with lemon 
  • 22 ounces aged rum
  • 16 ounces boiling water
  • 10 ounces brandy
  • 6 ounces porter or stout beer
  • 2 cups whole milk

1. Add lemon zest and citrus syrup to large bowl and muddle until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in rum, boiling water, brandy, beer, and lemon juice, then gently stir in milk until curds form. Cover and refrigerate until flavors meld, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

2. Line fine-mesh strainer with double layer of coffee filters and set over serving pitcher or large container. Working in batches, gently pour rum-milk mixture into prepared strainer and let drain completely; discard solids. Cover punch and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. Serve in chilled cocktail or cordial glasses. (Milk punch may be refrigerated for up to 1 month.)


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