I'm not going to lie. I detest today's cocktail. But it's Mardi Gras season and the wife insisted it needed to be included or she wasn't making gumbo. So here goes.
Milk punch is a lighter, smoother libation unlike its eggnog cousin. It's an elegant cocktail with hints of vanilla, that can easily be enjoyed anytime of day, but preferably at brunch. There are probably as many recipes for this drink as there are restaurants in New Orleans. Whether you prefer bourbon, brandy, rum or a combination; heavy cream, milk or almond milk served on ice or blended up with or without a shot of espresso, this drink can be easily tailored to your taste.
Since it is the start of Mardi Gras season, the wife put down 2 rules:
1 - No eggs. Christmas has come and gone and so has the eggnog
2 - The recipe has to come from a New Orleans restaurant/chef
So she hit up her cookbooks and started with The New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook by Deirdre Stanforth featuring Brennan's (the original restaurant) Milk Punch and Timmy's Brandy Milk Punch from John Besh's My New Orleans. Since both recipes are essentially 3 parts cream/milk to 1 part liquor with sugar and vanilla thrown in, they came of as weak and bland.
Back to the drawing board, she tried numerous more cocktails before settling on the newer Brennan's Caribbean Milk Punch and the Brandy Milk Punch from Commander's Palace. Less milk, more sugar seemed to have the right balance. Her go to winner, was Brennan's. She loved the mix of rum to bourbon. And while their recipe calls specifically for Smith & Cross or Mt. Gay black barrel rum, the wife went with her usual Myers's (you like what you like). But certainly use what you like and what you have. The same goes for the dairy component. She used whole milk for both recipes because it's what we had.
Hopefully one of these will be to your liking. If not, I get it!
Brandy Milk Punch - Commander's Palace
2 oz brandy (Pierre Ferrand)
1 oz simple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 oz milk
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake till chilled and strain into a double old fashioned filled with ice. Garnish with lightly grated nutmeg
Caribbean Milk Punch - Brennan's
1 oz dark rum
1/2 oz bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
1 oz vanilla infused simple syrup
1 oz heavy cream
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake till chilled and strain into a double old fashioned filled with ice. Garnish with lightly grated nutmeg.
Vanilla infused simple syrup (per serving)
Heat 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp water in a microwave safe container for 30 sec or until sugar is dissolved. Add 1/8 tsp vanilla extract and let cool to room temp.