Got Milk Punch? This Southern-Style Eggnog Is the Holiday Cocktail You'll Want to Get to Know Better

Got Milk Punch? This Southern-Style Eggnog Is the Holiday Cocktail You'll Want to Get to Know Better

Nope, don't put an egg on it.

By Marcy de Luna

What's the difference between eggnog and milk punch, aka the "eggnog of the South"? Just one little detail: eggs. But while milk punch is traditionally made with just whole milk, brandy, rum, sugar and vanilla extract, the recipe isn’t set in stone. Bartenders are stirring up their own spins this season, offering everything from a milk punch made with  jalapeno-infused blanco tequila, to a version served with cereal-washed milk plus a bowl of cereal on the side. Try as many as you can before the holidays are over, and check out the English Milk Punch recipe, which you'll want in your arsenal all year long.

Turmeric Milk Punch

Where: Mace Cocktail Bar, New York City

What: Fat-washed mezcal, jalapeno-infused blanco tequila, corn milk, coconut water, turmeric, lime juice, apple juice, house-made spice blend.

How: The smoky milk punch at this NYC bar is clarified (meaning hot milk is added to the boozy blend) and served over an ice ball with a dehydrated apple slice. Photo courtesy of Mace Cocktail Bar.

Milk Punch

Where: Succotash, D.C.

What: Bourbon, amaro (Italian herbal liqueur), aged rhum, fine Italian vermouth, Creole bitters, rooibos tea, lemon juice, pineapple juice, milk, Madagascar vanilla, cinnamon, star anise.

How: You might want to keep track of how many glasses of punch you knock back at this D.C. eatery. The super-smooth punch, infused with spices and fruit and made by boiling milk and straining it into the mix, goes down way too easily. Photo courtesy of Knead Hospitality + Design.

San Francisco

Where: The Growler, New York City

What: Cognac, Jamaican rum, peach liqueur, muddled peaches, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, black tea, whole organic milk.

How: It’s worth the work — and the wait — to try this decadent San Francisco-inspired drink at NYC's The Growler. From steeping to clarifying, it’s a three-day process until the strong, super-flavorful drink hits your glass. Photo courtesy of The Growler.

Saturday Morning Toons

Where: Vox Table, Austin

What: Bourbon, vanilla bitters, Demerara sugar, cereal-washed milk.

How: While the Saturday Morning Toons cocktail at Vox Table in Austin is strictly for the 21-and-up set, the adult version of cereal and milk keeps it nostalgic by serving up a tiny bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal on the side. Photo by Hayden Walker.

Pisco Milk Punch

Where: Eastern Standard, Boston

What: Rosemary Fuji apple syrup, Czech herbal liqueur, lemon, fresh thyme, pisco.

How: The remastered milk punch on the menu at this Boston restaurant changes bi-weekly. The current pisco-spiked version boasts is packed with fruity and herbal flavors. Photo courtesy of Eastern Standard.

English Milk Punch

Where: Faith & Flower, Los Angeles

What: Rum, aged Spanish rum, white rum, bourbon, bitter orange flavored liqueur, arrack, absinthe, green tea, cinnamon, clove, coriander, clarified milk.

How: The award-winning English Milk Punch at Faith & Flower in L.A. is derived from Jerry Thomas' 1862 book How to Mix Drinks. ”It's a great drink to have during the fall season. The cinnamon, clove, and coriander in the drink all work beautifully with the pineapple, blend of rums, and green tea.” says lead bartender Darwin Pornel. Photo courtesy of Faith & Flower.

English Milk Punch recipe

Serves 10-12


Peel of 4 lemons

1 pineapple

20 coriander seeds

3 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 star anise pod

1 pound sugar

Juice of 8 lemons

8 oz Appleton Estate 12-year rum

8 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum

8 oz Bacardi 8-year rum

6 oz Bulleit bourbon

8 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840

6 oz Battavia Arrack van Oosten

4 oz Absinthe Mata Hari

1 oz  Peychauds bitters (or Angostura)

8 oz brewed sencha green tea

14 oz boiling water

40 oz milk


Add the lemon peels to a large airtight container.

Peel and cut the pineapple into large chunks and add them to the lemon peels in the container.

Coarsely grind the spices with a mortar and pestle. Add the spices to the container, along with the sugar and the juice of six lemons. Muddle the mixture.

Pour in the brewed green tea and stir to mix. Pour in 1 cup boiling water and immediately cover so that the liquid doesn't evaporate. Let sit overnight, and then strain the mixture and reserve the liquid.

Bring the milk to a boil. Add the boiling milk and the juice of two lemons to the strained rum mixture. The milk will coagulate.

Using a fine chinois lined with a cheesecloth, strain the liquid a little at a time. You may have to stop and replace the cheesecloth when it has too much milk buildup. Pour the liquid into a container, cover, place in the refrigerator, and leave it overnight so that the remaining milk solids settle.

Ladle the clarified punch from the top of the container, being careful not to disturb the solids at the bottom. Strain the punch again if desired. Serve over ice.

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