Celebrate National Milk Day with these Clarified Milk Punch tricks!
Clarified Milk Punch is a method of clarifying and preserving punch by curdling it with milk. According to cocktail lore, the Milk Punch is a drink that was innovated, pioneered, and popularized by women. Agnes Behn, one of the first Englishwomen to earn a living for her writing, historically mentions the Milk Punch in one of her plays. And according to David Wondrich in Punch, the earliest known Milk Punch recipe dates to 1711, attributed to housewife Mary Rockett.
The base cocktail recipe includes citrus juice or acidic ingredient, milk is added, curdled, strained. The process clarifies the drink—removing color and cloudiness—and preserves the cocktail for months or even years if kept cool.
World renowned bar director Adam Fournier for Fellow in Los Angeles creates a menu that is both culinarily and narratively driven. His Miami Vice Milk Punch is one of the most popular and uniquely interesting on the menu.
“I love making Milk Punches because it’s a style of drink that allows for a lot of complex flavors and helps expedite service—it’s an easy to serve format—working both for entertaining at dinner parties and in service at a high-volume bar. It’s the ultimate conversation starter and an experience as much as a cocktail.”
Make a few test runs of your cocktail, then break and clarify them on a small scale before you commit to a larger batch. It will allow you to dial in your recipe and perform the proper research and development. The Milk Punch process can be applied not only to traditional punch recipes but to most cocktails.
The funkier the better. A good Milk Punch almost always tastes funky as hell before you clarify it. Remember the process will add texture, sweetness, and strip away some of the rough edges. Clarifying ingredients first without alcohol might give the cocktail cleaner results and will keep some wanted flavors (especially when using brown aged spirits).
Play around. Try different flavor combos, different techniques, and even different milks. For instance, the Miami Vice uses coconut milk instead of dairy, which lends different flavors and textures. Decisions are based on whether you want your punch clear or with certain flavors from the milk or spirits integrated.
The tricky part is straining the final mixture through a filter as to not disturb the nest of curd. Filter through a single layer, durable, tightly knit material like a cheesecloth or Superbag.
Never add milk to your batch. Once you have your cocktail recipe dialed in, be sure that you are pouring the batch into the milk and not the milk into the batch, so that it does not instantly curdle.
A passionate hospitality professional with over 15 years of experience in the spirits world, Adam “George” Fournier helms Fellow’s bar program as their new bar director, helping the restaurant work towards earning its first Michelin star. Hailing from Erie, Pennsylvania, but a longtime Los Angeles resident, Fournier has led and worked with renowned bar programs including Areal, the Chestnut Club, and Old Lightning, Faith, and Flower.