History of the Milk Punch Cocktail
The Clarified Milk Punch cocktail has a super cool backstory. Get this; according to drink-related folklore, the recipe for milk punch was invented by a 17th-century female spy! Aphra Behn was a secret agent for King Charles II, as well as a celebrated playwright and poet. Plus, the lady loved to host a good party with plenty of theatrical eats and treats. Cue the science-forward holiday milk punch recipe that is somehow clear even though it contains milk.
However, it must be said that this impressive tale, as with many great stories, has a less fantastical version, which is more than likely the truer story. See, according to a very fastidious researcher (bless his cotton socks), the Clarified Milk Punch recipe was first penned by housewife Mary Rockett around 1711. If so, good on her, but we’ll be sticking to the more fanciful version of the story if you don’t mind.
Why is Milk Punch clear?
Of course, not all cocktails that contain milk are clear. There is a straightforward version of milk punch that is often enjoyed around the holidays, and ultra-creamy dessert-like cocktails like the Bushwacker. The reason why Clarified Milk Punch is clear has to do with the chemical reaction between the alcohol, acid (lemon juice), and milk.
The tomfoolery happens when the mixture is passed through a filter. This is when the curds settle at the bottom, forming a little nest, and the milk proteins (AKA casein) do the work of stripping the liquid of both its color and tannins. The result is a sweet, spicy, velvety-smooth drink that is very easy (some might say too easy) to drink.
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Is Eggnog the same as Milk Punch?
No, Eggnog and Milk Punch are two very different drinks. Although the unclarified version of Milk Punch has a similar flavor profile, Eggnog is made using a batter. In short, while they both share a creamy, Christmas-spice vibe, each call for an entirely different approach.
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