English Milk Punch

English Milk Punch – 1763 Benjamin Franklin Recipe

History Of Clarified Milk Punch

The common origin story to this cocktail is provided in David Wondrich’s book “Punch” is the Clarified Milk Punch was invented by Mary Rockett. This cocktail seems to have been invented as a way of preserving milk punch by curdling and removing the parts that go bad and would turn the drink. The alcohol and milk fats protect the drink with epic stories of it lasting far longer than one would expect it to. Prior to refrigeration that was hard to do. The recipe I have provided here is the classic Benjamin Franklin English milk punch from 1763.

The Clarified or English milk punch starts to fade in the middle of the 1800s, and by the 1900s there isn’t a single book that mentions it. The invention of commercial refrigeration in the mid 1800s meant people could now get their drinks cold even in the middle of summer. Hot cocktails, room temperature cocktails, and preserved cocktails like this, fall out of favor to chilled drinks. Jerry Thomas give one of the last printed recipes for it and his is very similar to Benjamin Franklin’s recipe.

What Does English Milk Punch Taste Like

This taste absolutely nothing like what you would expect and it should not taste as good as it does. English milk punch is refreshing, full body and taste like a fancy sparkling lemonade but without the bubbles. You would never guess this was the byproduct of cheese. I’m usually pretty good at tasting something and guessing what is in it, or reading a list of ingredients and knowing what the final product will taste like, not all the time but enough, but I was completely and totally wrong when guessing what English milk punch would taste like. This is a fantastic drink that blew me away, and one I will make many more times.

Now just for fun I also tried the leftover cheese strained out of the milk punch and that taste EXACTLY like what you would expect. It was awful. A sweet and sour, booze cheese and it was so gross. If you make this, which you should, try both the cheese and the punch and you will be amazed they both came from the same mixture.

How Do You Make Clear Milk

By making cheese of course. Milk is made mostly of 4 things, water, protein (cheese), fat , and lactose (sugar) and by denaturing/cooking the protein you are able to isolate it out. Cooking can be done 2 ways, with heat, or acid. Typically when making cheese you keep the protein part and throw out the whey, but this cocktail reverses that and instead you save is the whey (water, fat, sugar) part. By removing the cloudy white protein, what is left is the clear pale yellow liquid.

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English Milk Punch – 1763 Benjamin Franklin Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

15

servings
Calories

180

kcal
ABV

19%

Total time

2

hours 

Learn how to make English Milk Punch.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 Cup Simple Syrup

  • 2 Cups Water

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

  • 3 Cups Brandy

  • 1.5 Cups Milk

Directions

  • Using a knife cut the zest of 5 lemons and juice the lemons to the required volume. Set juice aside. add the shaved zest to the brandy and let it sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours remove and discard the lemon zest.
  • Add the sugar to the brandy and stir till dissolved. Now set brandy aside.
  • In a large pot combine water, nutmeg, and milk and bring to 100f/37c.
  • Once milk has warmed turn off heat and add the lemon juice and brandy. Stir the mixture for 30 seconds then let it sit for 2 hours undisturbed.
  • Line a mesh strainer with a large paper coffee filter and strain out cheese, letting the clear whey run into a large pot. Bottle, refrigerate and serve cold.
Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy – Classic 18th Century Style Toddy

History Of The Hot Toddy

A lot of these old drinks that we still make today are actually really hard to find information on. Hot buttered rum, hot ale flip, buttered beer, toddies, etc. Most actual written recipes are around the mid 1800s and later. Books were mostly published for histories and stories, skills and trades were just taught from master to apprentice. There were a few but not like there is today. One tries to piecemeal as much as they can together.

In a 1769 book “A Dissertation On The Oleum Palmae Christi” by Peter Canvane he mentions adding medicines to “warm milk punch, common punch, or toddy, in which a hot poker has been quenched.” as ways of administering medicine to those who complain about the taste. (All the really old stuff has the long “S” graphic but I change it to a normal s here, it looks like an f but its just another symbol for s that we don’t use anymore. Thats why the Declaration of Independence looks like they spelled everything wrong.) In an 1783 fictional book “Smyth’s Tour of The United States” by J.F.D. Smyth, he notes that his character likes to “take a draught of Bumbo, or toddy, a liquor composed of water, sugar, rum and nutmeg.” There was also a kinda funny romance story from 1741 I found, where a beautiful lady walks into the kitchen and ask the lord of the house for a toddy. “Would you like it hot, or cold? warm I replied.”

All silliness aside the point I am trying to get at is, there is no actual formal recipe to make a toddy but the parts and qualities of a toddy. There are as many toddies as there are people. What matters are the parts, so based on the works I referenced lets brake those parts down.

  1. The first reference points to the colonial American way of heating up drinks. Not by using a stove but by using a hot fireplace poker often called a toddy rod or loggerhead. In a home setting a stove probably was used as it was already fired up for cooking food but in a tavern it was more efficient to simply place iron rods in the already running fireplace. Rather than having a stove run all night just to be ready for the occasional warm drink they could simply dip the toddy rod into the drinks people request warmed.
  2. The second reference give us the ingredient of the toddy. The 4 parts are water, sugar, rum, and nutmeg. Now any spice will do but it is worth noting that even in the early 1862 Bartenders guide only nutmeg is mentioned when adding spice toddies.
  3. The third reference lets us know that toddies were served both hot and cold and sometimes warm. Now I am willing to bet that a cold toddy was just not a heated one. Commercial refrigeration was not invented till the 1850s so access to blocks of ice was limited mostly to business. and while they did have ice houses that saved ice for most of the summer (some stayed in use up to the 1930s), something as special as ice was not going to be wasted on a single drink.

So for this hot toddy recipe I will stick to those points. Using only rum, water, sugar and nutmeg. Heated up with a toddy rod. Almost every recipe you find has lemon juice added it to add to its medicinal qualities but since that is not traditional to the 18th or 19th century I will leave it out and stick to the classic structure. On a fun side note, did you know the original name for the muddler was actually the toddy stick. Thats right, It was based off the pestle from the mortar and pestle but made of wood so it wouldn’t shatter glass cups. The shape was perfect for smashing together fruits, spices and sugar cubes.

Do Hot Toddies Actually Help You Feel Better When You Are Sick

So the short answer is, I guess… sure. The long answer is it depends on what ailment you hope to relieve. Western medicine has come a long way since the 18th century but there are three reasons a person makes a hot toddy today other than it just tasting good. 1). When they have a soar throat. 2). When their sinuses are congested and 3). It just feels nice to cozy up with one during the winter. The main health benefit from a hot toddy comes from honey, if you use sugar then you are missing most of the benefits of a hot toddy. Honey is actually a pretty awesome nectar and has shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. In some lab studies if is found to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines, this combined with the warm steam from the drink can help reduce congestion as that is a inflammation of the sinuses. Or you can pop some Sudafed during the day and Benadryl at night as those are some of the present day gold standards of over the counter anti-inflammation medication.

Ignoring mechanical irritation of ones throat like screaming a bunch, the most common reason for a sore throat is infection and the bodies natural response to infection is inflammation. So again its honey with that anti-inflammatory response, or you could just pop an ibuprofen or naproxen as they would be a more effective treatment. And the last point is it just feels good to cozy up with one, and it does. Being cozy just makes you feel happy, but did you also know that nutmeg is a hallucinogen. The dose is so low that its hard to credit any effect on the brain to the nutmeg but it does contain myristicin which in large doses can make people trip. Maybe that good feeling is just a psychedelic nut and alcohol induced feeling. Some people are very sensitive to nutmeg and the active chemicals in it and get pounding headache from even the smallest amount. So don’t ever use too much nutmeg and don’t use it for the purpose of getting high and be careful as it can be dangerous in large doses. Make wise choices.

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Hot Toddy – Classic 18th Century Style Toddy

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

180

kcal
ABV

10%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a vintage style hot toddy.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 oz Honey Syrup

  • 2 oz Gold Rum

  • 5 oz Water

  • light dusting Nutmeg

Directions

  • Combine honey and rum into heat resistant or ceramic mug.
  • Either add hot water and stir or add room temperature water and dip a hot toddy rod in. Stirring the with the rod as the water boils.
  • Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.
Hot Ale Flip

Hot Ale Flip – Early Colonial Hot Beer Cocktail

A Short History Of Cooking Beer

Before the days of bottling and refrigeration, fresh beer had a very limited shelf life and having to waste any brought a tear to many peoples eyes. So like any food item on its way out, people tried to find ways to get just a couple more uses out it. I’m sure you do this all the time. Strawberries are starting to get soft, make a smoothie. Worried about your gigantic bag of onions getting too old, make French onion soup. There are lots of things you can do before food turns and during the 17th century cooking beer with honey and spices was one way to mask the flavor of a beer going bad.

Earlier forms of the hot ale flip we simple hot ale and honey drinks and if you want to find these recipes you’ll need to look in old cookbooks. One such recipe from the 1669 book “The Closet” by Sir Kenelme Digbie is an ale with honey recipe specifically for beer that is about to go bad. Sir Kenelme Digbie described cooking old beer with honey would would help the turned old beer and “set the whole a working a fresh, and casting out foulness”

Some very old books had tips and tricks for old food but with the invention of commercial refrigeration in the mid 1800s that kinda stopped being such a big problem. Most of those recipes either got lost to time but many still live on as things you eat normally. Fruit pies, jellies, alcohol, pickles, hell even banana bread. Hence why most recipes specifically call for nasty old soft brown bananas no one wants to eat. It’s for flavor but it comes from much older tradition. Old meat was a little harder to repurpose and was something you needed to persevere before it started to turn. Although old meat could be used at bait to catch fresh meat or go fishing and once food went really bad it could just be composted.

What Does It Taste Like

Depending on the beer you use, these can be really really good, or really really bad. To make it more difficult its almost impossible to know which beers are good as a flip and which are not, without actually trying them. A beer you think would be good warmed with spices, whiskey, and sugar, like a super cool peanut butter stout, are awful. The really flavorful beers just seem to turn too bitter, but lighter more drinkable beers like boston lager and Budweiser are amazing. The only way to know is to try. I started doing a whole YouTube series on which beers taste good hot and which taste bad and my goal is to try every beer I can get my hands on hot. I have hot beer tier list on my website and so far my favorite one is hot fat tire. I like fat tire to begin with but hot it was amazing.

Keeping in mind that this is a way of making old beers taste good again. I opened a bottle of beer, poured it, set it on the counter for a day, and it made a better flip than a fresh bottle of the same beer. The fresh beer taste better cold but the old beer taste better flipped. My mind was blown. No of these results were expected. In fact I believed the opposite to be true of what the actual results ended up being. I only tried it with this one beer (boston lager since I really liked it flipped to begin with) but I feel I should do the same experiment for others. Doing this will likely make me gain quite few pounds in the next year but I think it will be fun.

What Is A Flip

No one really knows where the term flip came from. Some guesses are that it was used to describe the bubbles leaving the drink. Like the bubbles flipped from the inside to the outside, or the drink was so strong it would make you flip out of your chair. No one really knows but I have my own idea. Some 18th century and earlier books provided ways to repurpose food that was going bad or loosing its freshness. I wrote a bit about that in the paragraphs above. It is often referred to as the food or drinks turning. My guess is the term flip was a cleaver play on words to describe making a turned beer taste good again. Again I have no evidence of this. Its just a feeling.

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Hot Ale Flip – Early Colonial Hot Beer Cocktail

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

330

kcal
ABV

9%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a hot ale flip.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 oz Dark Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Gold Rum

  • 12 oz Amber Ale

  • Light dusting Nutmeg

Directions

  • Add rum and simple syrup to a large beer glass.
  • Stir rum and syrup together and next add beer.
  • Dip a hot toddy rod into the drink and stir with the rod as the drink boils.
  • Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.
Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum – A Classic Early Colonial American Drink

The History Of Hot Buttered Rum

Adding butter to hot drinks was not new during colonial America, butter beer dates back to the 16th century, but hot buttered rum was an early american twist on this type of drink. In the Americas rum and molasses were plentiful and fairly cheap because of it’s close proximity to the Caribbean. In fact rum was the first real spirit of the Americas, not whiskey. I looked high and low but I was unable to find a hot buttered rum like recipe till the 1860s with Jerry Thomas’s book. I scanned drink and food recipe books and eventually just started looking for any historical book older that 1860 that might have a recipe or at least mention a hot buttered rum. Trust me I put more effort into this cocktail than any reasonable person should. I did find a mention of it in the 1826 edition of the Pennsylvanian Historical society. I mentioned how it is common at birthing for “good women” to have hot buttered rum, wines and cordial water served to guest. And if the baby be unwell or fretful a dose of spirit, water and spices could help too. I found an 1855 British book called the Practical housewife, gave a very similar recipe to the one provided but called the drink a buttered toddy. A a book from 1830 called “Three Courses and a Dessert” mentions the hot butter rum and says how its a terrible meaty drink. There were a couple times I found this referred to as a buttered toddy but not much, the much more common name was still hot buttered rum.

Lord knows I tired but the earliest I could find this drink mentioned was in the 1826 Pennsylvanian Historical society. The titles of most of the books that had hot buttered rum recipes were like, the domestic blah blah blah, housewife so and so, or friendly neighbor such and such. They all revolved around the house and made no mention of going out to a tavern, which leads me to think this was very much a home made cocktail. This ultimately means the history of it is a bit muddy and there is no single canon recipe, so take this recipe, modify it, make it your own have fun.

What Does Hot Buttered Rum Taste Like

This is an amazing drink that is spiced well with great texture and flavor. The butter doesn’t come across as heavy or greasy, it adds a nice creamy mouthfeel similar to gum syrup, egg whites or a very full bodied wine. This drink is not weak either. You can really feel the warm rum but the light creamy butter and pumpkin pie spices make it pleasant and not too strong. When I was younger I use to think of this drink as more of an overly sweet almost milk shake like drink but it doesn’t have to be. And again since there is no real single canon recipe for this, the recipe I have here is an amalgamation of older recipes I liked. The sweetness and spice toned down a bit with a little bit more rum. The 2 ounces of rum helps keep the drink from feeling flat and the sugar and spice level make it so the drink taste like a cocktail and not a dessert. The hot buttered rum batter is great on anything. I sometimes add it to coffee, on toast, biscuits, pancakes, etc. Add a little more sugar, spice or butter if you feel the drink needs it.

Spiced Butter Batter Recipe

  • 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) Clove
  • 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) Allspice (or 1/2 tbs: Allspice dram)
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) Vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) Unsalted butter

This recipe will make about a cup (240 grams) of spiced butter batter mix which is about 12 drinks. This is really good on biscuits too and my kids love this spread on toast.

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Hot Buttered Rum – A Classic Early Colonial American Drink

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

220

kcal
ABV

10%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Hot Buttered Rum.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 oz Spiced Butter Batter

  • 2 oz Gold Rum

  • 6 oz Hot Water

Directions

  • Drop spiced butter batter into a ceramic or heat resistant mug.
  • Add hot water and stir till the butter is completely melted and incorporated into the water.
  • Lastly add the rum and give a couple last stirs to finish mixing the drink.