Milk Punch – Classic 1862 Recipe

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Milk Punch

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



Learn how to make a classic Milk Punch.


  • 3 dashes 3 Vanilla Extract

  • 1/2 oz 1/2 Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz 2 Cream

  • 1 oz 1 Gold Rum

  • 2 oz 2 Brandy


  • Technique: Saxe Soda Shake
  • Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
  • Add one medium or two small ice cubes to the cocktail shaker and shake until the ice fully melts.
  • Without a strainer, pour the chilled and aerated drink into a glass with ice.


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Using Dairy In Cocktails.

So you may notice this is a milk punch, but the milk punch does not use milk. Mixing with dairy is a pain in the ass, and that’s because alcohol, like acid, causes milk protein to bind together and make cheese. What protects the protein from binding together is fat. Regular milk doesn’t have enough fat, so you will make curds and whey punch every time instead. The trick is to balance the higher ABVs with the correct fat percentage. This one comes in around 15%, and at that abv half & half works well. Something like a white Russian, which is 30%, needs heavy cream because that’s too much booze and would curdle half & half. If you use milk, you would need to add less alcohol and water it down some to hopefully not have it curdle.

On a side note, I experimented with making this with oat milk and almond milk, and it was ok. They tasted fine, but they lacked the creaminess of actual dairy. Kind of like substituting almond milk in coffee. It’s OK but not good. Also, this follows older recipes pretty closely, but I feel this is a superior version. One of the oldest ones I could find was Jerry Thomas’s version.

• 15mls/ tea spoon of sugar
• 60mls/ 2 ounces of brandy
• 30mls/ 1 ounce rum
• remainder of glass filled with milk and ice

I like booze, but it was too boozy and the milk curdled. I took the ingredients of most of the milk punches I found, increased the fat content, and decreased the booze by a 1/4, and that’s what this recipe is. It won’t curdle, and I think the parts are a better balance.

What Is The Difference Between Eggnog And Milk Punch

Eggnog and milk punch are similar drinks, but the main difference is eggnog is made with both dairy and eggs, and milk punch is only made with dairy. Adding an egg or not also changes how the drink is consumed. A milk punch is shaken and served right away with the intent that it is consumed right then and there. On the other hand, eggnog is typically stored and consumed over a more extended period. Eggs add a thicker texture to the drink, adding stability. Egg yolks are around 10 to 15% lecithin, a powerful emulsifier. Lecithin emulsifies fat, preventing it from binding together and forcing them to remain evenly suspended in a liquid. Egg yolks are also 20% fat and add around 4 to 5 grams of fat each. Fat will stabilize proteins and prevent them from denaturing in a highly alcoholic or acidic environment. What does this all mean? It means the milk in eggnog will not clump together and get cheesy. Eggnog can be prepared and placed in the fridge to develop flavors further. Days and even weeks later, it will still look the same. The same can not be said for a milk punch. Milk punch will start to curdle after a few minutes. So it’s a trade-off. Milk punch is thinner and not so heavy, but it must be consumed immediately. Eggnog is a richer, thicker drink, but it has a long shelf life.

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