The brandy milk punch (or simply milk punch) is a wonderful nightcap and one of the true classics of the cocktail world. It dates back to sometime around the turn of the 18th century when brandy and rum punches were a must at any social gathering. It remained quite popular through the late 1800s when single-serving milk punch was enjoyed and recipes could be found in the very first bartending guides.
This recipe is quite similar to that found in "Professor" Jerry Thomas' 1862 "How to Mix Drinks." It primarily differs in that simple syrup is substituted for his shaken sugar and water (a quick simple syrup). You can skip the rum if you like, though it adds dimension to the flavor, as does the optional vanilla extract, which is not found in Thomas' punch recipe. The egg white is another nice addition that gives it a luscious texture, though it's not eggy like eggnog.
Gather the ingredients.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the brandy, rum, simple syrup, milk, and optional vanilla extract and egg white.
Shake well (if you choose to add egg, shake until it hurts).
Dust with grated nutmeg for garnish.
Serve and enjoy!
- Many fans of this drink prefer a good cognac and it's really nice when paired with an aged rum. Feel free to experiment with other pairings of the two spirits or simply pour your favorite brandy alone.
- You can vary the milk that you use in the brandy milk punch. Make it creamier by using half-and-half or even heavy cream. For a lighter choice, use nonfat or 1 percent milk.
- You can either buy or make your own simple syrup. It is two parts sugar to one part water, brought to a boil and simmered for 10 to 15 minutes. The homemade version is not only incredibly easy, but it can also save you money.
- Adding an egg white to any cocktail comes with the precaution that you want to ensure your egg is fresh. This reduces the risk of illnesses such as salmonella. If you have any concerns, skip the ingredient.
- Often, you will see recipes that call for 2 ounces of milk and 2 ounces of half-and-half or heavy cream for a single serving.
- If you don't tolerate milk products well, you can switch the milk for alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk. As some of these are sweetened, you might want to adjust the amount of simple syrup you add.
- It is interesting to note that the larger milk punch servings are completely different and may not be to modern taste. According to David Wondrich in the book, "Imbibe," in the actual "punch" version the milk was meant to curdle (this was strained off), which is appropriate considering how long the drink sat before drinking.
How Strong Is a Brandy Milk Punch?
The brandy milk punch is a relaxing and relatively low-proof drink. When you skip the egg white and keep the rum, its alcohol content should be in the 15 percent ABV range. It's very similar to drinking a glass of wine, only this drink is far more soothing.