Friday, December 04, 2009


'Tis the season for parties and punch.
You may not think to look to a book titled Screen Doors and Sweet Tea for inspiration for holiday parties, but you'd be remiss. For it contains a recipe for Milk Punch by the fabulous Martha Foose. The book is filled with many wonderful recipes actually and Martha's engaging tales. It's one of my favorites.
Back to the punch, some versions appear to be a lighter incarnation of eggnog without the eggs though some do add egg white for frothiness. In researching it's origins I found it is a popular drink in New Orleans, but enthusiasm for it is widespread.
I came across Benjamin Franklin's recipe which sounds great too, and involves soaking lemon rinds in brandy for 24 hours. (A lot of lemons!) I believe it is English in origin.

Though I plan on making real eggnog for the first time this year, and intend on trying Craig Claiborn's recipe, I'm looking forward to adding Milk Punch to the winter cocktail repertoire.

Here are some recipes:

Martha Foose's Milk Punch ( go get her book!)
Serves 1

1 ½ ounces good bourbon or brandy
2 ounces half-and-half
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Drop of vanilla extract
Ice cubes
Freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the bourbon, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly until the mixture is cold and frothy. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a grating of nutmeg.

Coconut Milk Punch ( from Gourmet magazine- it's Vegan)

Make coconut milk:
Grate the meat of 1 coconut, wrap it in a damp cheesecloth, and squeeze it over a bowl to extract the milk.
Reserve the milk.
Transfer the cheesecloth-wrapped coconut to another bowl, open the cheesecloth, and pour 1/4 cup boiling water over the coconut.
When cool, squeeze the mixture through the cheesecloth into the bowl to extract all the liquid and add the reserved milk.

In a cocktail shaker combine
1/2 cup each of coconut milk and crushed ice,
3 tablespoons light rum,
1 tablespoon sugar syrup,
1/8 teaspoon vanilla and shake the liquid vigorously.
Strain the punch into an 8-ounce goblet and grate some nutmeg over it.
Makes 1 drink.

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