Recipe

Billy Dawson’s Milk Punch

by Dan Souza

Don’t be fooled by the name of this recipe—it’s not milky and creamy like a White Russian. Rather it’s a punch that gets clarified by adding it to milk and letting the milk curdle. That may sound gross but trust me—the end result is silky smooth and as clear as a glass of chardonnay.

In classic English form this punch combines both brandy and rum with, oddly enough, some dark beer like porter or stout and richly flavored demerara sugar. It’s spirit-forward (a real drinker’s drink) and would feel right at home in a snifter sitting on a mahogany desk surrounded by leather bound books (I think you know what I’m talking about). The original recipe, which I’ve adapted here, comes from David Wondrich’s book Punch, and is not classically milk clarified. My milk-clarified version is full-bodied, amber-hued, and smooth. You still taste the brandy and the molasses-y demerara, but there are no rough edges to keep it from going down easy. 

Yield
Makes about 4 cups
SFS_Milk_Punch-0065.jpg
Ingredients
227 g whole milk
113 g demerara sugar
25 g lemon zest strips (from 2 lemons)
227 g boiling water
290 g rum
150 g brandy
90 g porter or stout
85 g lemon juice
25 g Batavia Arrack
1 cup whole milk
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (4 ounces) demerara sugar
1 ounce lemon zest strips (from 2 lemons)
1 cup boiling water
1¼ cups rum
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons brandy
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons porter or stout
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Batavia Arrack
Essential Equipment
Instructions
    • 227 g whole milk 
    • 113 g demerara sugar 
    • 25 g lemon zest strips 
    • 227 g boiling water 
    • 290 g rum 
    • 150 g brandy 
    • 90 g porter or stout 
    • 85 g lemon juice 
    • 25 g Batavia Arrack
    Place milk in 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large pitcher; set aside. Combine sugar and zest strips in 4-cup liquid measuring cup or large bowl. Using back of ladle, gently muddle zest and sugar until oil releases from zest and sugar starts to look wet and clumpy, 45 to 60 seconds. Add boiling water and whisk to dissolve sugar. Whisk in rum, brandy, porter, lemon juice, and Batavia Arrack. 
  1. Pour rum mixture into milk. Gently stir curds with small spoon. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 
  2. Line fine-mesh strainer with coffee filter and set over large measuring cup or bowl. Gently pour rum-milk mixture into coffee filter and let drain. Drain strained punch mixture through curds in coffee filter one more time. Discard curds and coffee filter. Transfer clarified punch to lidded glass container and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, pour 56 to 85 grams chilled punch into small glass.
Instructions
    • 1 cup whole milk 
    • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (4 ounces) demerara sugar 
    • 1 ounce lemon zest strips (from 2 lemons) 
    • 1 cup boiling water 
    • 1¼ cups rum 
    • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons brandy 
    • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons porter or stout 
    • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
    • 2 tablespoons Batavia Arrack
    Place milk in 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large pitcher; set aside. Combine sugar and zest strips in 4-cup liquid measuring cup or large bowl. Using back of ladle, gently muddle zest and sugar until oil releases from zest and sugar starts to look wet and clumpy, 45 to 60 seconds. Add boiling water and whisk to dissolve sugar. Whisk in rum, brandy, porter, lemon juice, and Batavia Arrack. 
  1. Pour rum mixture into milk. Gently stir curds with small spoon. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 
  2. Line fine-mesh strainer with coffee filter and set over large measuring cup or bowl. Gently pour rum-milk mixture into coffee filter and let drain. Drain strained punch mixture through curds in coffee filter one more time. Discard curds and coffee filter. Transfer clarified punch to lidded glass container and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, pour ¼ cup to 3/8 cup chilled punch into small glass.
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