Milk punch. Okay, first, hear me out. Milk punch may sound like a sad, watered-down version of eggnog or a dinner party failure of rum and melted ice cream, but that’s not the case. This old-fashioned method to clarify alcohol is amazingly versatile; it creates a drink that removes the bitter astringency and gives you a dangerously easy-to-drink concoction. This method also works for refining the taste of teas or coffees too. The best part? You don’t need to be a bartender-extraordinaire or a chemist to make this drink.
Milk and alcohol never seem to mix, and you’d be right to think that. This 17th-century method of extracting bitters was a way to clarify alcohol, remove tannins from tea, and mellow the acidity from citrus. Made famous by fashionable female socialites and American political powerhouses, it’s easy to say people back then also enjoyed the subtler, more delicate sides of life. While many videos go through the milk punch process, Cocktail Chemistry gives the easiest way to make this punch with minimal fancy tools and crazy ingredients.
In a large bowl, you pour the milk and sets it aside. Don’t skimp, use full-fat milk, it’s the best option for curdling (okay, yes, that sounds gross, but you want these things!).
Next, you add all of the punch ingredients into a pitcher – black tea, ruby port, sugar, lemon juice, and one special alcohol – Batavia Arrack. This Indonesian-derived rum has molasses and predates many colonial-era New World sugar cane-derived rums. Batavia Arrack has only recently resurged in popularity, so it might be hard to find. You can substitute Batavia Arrack with any rum you have on hand.
Now comes the critical part — curdling. Gradually add the punch mixture into the bowl of milk, stirring slowly. Once the acidic punch comes in contact with the milk, you’ll start to see curdles.
Once it curdles, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. Don’t discard the cheesecloth yet. Strain the punch a second time through the same cheesecloth. Now you can toss the curds.
Next, strain the punch through a coffee filter. It’s a lot of straining, but this is what makes the milk punch so smooth.
Put the punch in the fridge until it is chilled, and serve it with ice. The milk absorbs all of the tannin, bitter, and acidic flavors leaving you with the delicate and smooth subtleties that are often lost in tea and rum. It’s easy, almost too easy to drink, it doesn’t even taste boozy, so you’ll have to be careful and restrain yourself!SKM: below-content placeholder