DIY Clarified Milk Punch – Barstalkers’ Home story
As I already said in my article about Milk Punch, it is getting serious now. Cocktail culture is celebrating an amazing renaissance and many high quality spirits are available on the market. There are festivals and fairs for consumers to learn more about booze and bartending. Home bars are a big topic at the moment.
Honestly, it would kill me if I started home bartending on top of everything else, but at the moment I am crazy about Milk Punch. At last I know what to do with open bottles that start to oxidise and gifts that are nice but only collect dust. When it comes to making your own drink, you need to stock your home bar with particular spirits that you use infrequently. A good alternative are cocktail sets, but the easiest way is to make some Milk Punch. Let’s delight and impress your family and friends or create an extraordinary gift. Milk Punch can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge for months and is low in alcohol. You can read about the base recipe, method and learnings in my previous post.
The good news with Milk Punch: you don’t need fancy equipment, you just need what you usually have at home or can easily buy at the supermarket around the corner.
After the workshop about Milk Punch I couldn’t wait to try it out. I had in mind a bottle of cognac that had already moved with me twice. I went to the supermarket, bought some lemons, oranges and a carton of full fat organic milk. I decided to use cow’s milk for my first experience. The rest of the ingredients I had at home.
Join me now on my first home-made Milk Punch adventure!
I ground cardamom capsules, coriander and mustard seeds in a mortar. Then I heated a bit of clarified butter in pan and first roasted some cloves, a cinnamon stick, and some star anise. Afterwards I added the ground spices. I roasted until the kitchen smelled nicely like Christmas.
After that, I mixed the spices with the cognac. While I was browsing my shelves I came across a small sample of Cointreau and Chartreuse which I poured into the mixture. Pieces of ginger also found their way into the pot. The smell was nice and the taste very powerful, so I set the mix aside for 8 hours at room temperature. I added the sugar after 4 hours and stirred to dissolve it.
Time to let the magic happen. I added freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice, filled the punch mix up with water and adjusted the flavour with dashes of Angostura bitters and lemon zest. The cold milk was waiting in a separate container and I poured the punch mix into it. Important: the punch goes into the milk not vice versa. As a container, I used a multi-purpose Ikea box, they are handy for everything. The process of curdling immediately started and I stared at the nasty flocculated broth. I stored the box in the fridge overnight.
The next morning I checked my magic potion. Separation had occurred and I tried the first clear result: sweet but surprisingly delicious. When I came back from work, that was 24 hours after mixing milk and punch, I set up the straining procedure. I took my biggest glass vase so I could observe the stream, I moistened the coffee filter paper, put it in a fine mesh strainer and poured the mixture carefully into the strainer. The stream was clear from the beginning and the filter caught the curds. It took a few hours and I tasted a sample or two as the process progressed. You should do this with ice, it takes away some sweetness and highlights the flavours. Proud as punch I was standing in my kitchen and watching my successful experiment. Although the result was already clear I strained it a second time over night. It is essential to reuse the used filter with all the cheesy stuff inside.
As the last step I filled some nice glass containers with the clarified Milk Punch, labelled and refrigerated them. My favourite way to serve it is in a tumbler with a clear ice ball that conveniently you can now buy at Rewe, a German supermarket. The cheese from the filter can, for example, be used as a spread for bread. It is really fascinating to think that the mixture looked like this before becoming crystal clear.
I like my Milk Punch a lot, it is a bit on the sweet side but very aromatic, but can it stand the test of a professional bartender? Stairs Bar is a 30 minutes walk from my home and I made my milky way to it. I was so excited to find myself with the tables turned: now I had made a drink and the bartender would give me his opinion.
You know what? My creation stood the test. Well executed, it was crystal clear and it has the character of a Milk Punch. The seasoning was strong but pleasant. Perfect Christmas Milk Punch. I left the bar (after three drinks): Milky mission accomplished.
I’ll definitely be making a lot more Milk Punch. The more you make the better you get at it. I have many ideas and leftovers. It’s easy. The only thing you need is patience and time. And don’t forget to taste regularly.
Ingredients of my Cognacilicious Clarified Christmas Punch:
230 g Milk
450 g Mix of orange juice and water
300 g Cognac + 5 g Cointreau + 5 g Chartreuse
90 g Sugar
80 g Lemon Juice
Added Spices: Ginger, cardamom, coriander, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, anise, zest and dashes of Angostura to taste. It is not necessary to roast the spices. For my next punch I would just grind the spices in a mortar and let the mix rest for a while. I think the flavour will be more elegant. Again, The more you make the better you get at it.