Some things just go together -- and the obvious accompaniment to food is drink. Welcome to Booze52, in which we explore all manner of libations, from A to Z, that do much more than just wash down a meal.
Today: A time-tested sibling of eggnog to have on standby this holiday season.
December is a time for wassail and revelry. As a noun, wassail refers to mulled or spiced wine. The verb, however, calls for us to “drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way.”
And so I apply this verb quite readily to the tradition-steeped milk punch, a dairy-meets-liquor drink that once warmed many a frostbitten medieval peasant and his lady. The drink has stayed loyal to the holiday season, a no-fail companion to gingerbread, plum pudding and all manner of wintry treats.
Any kind of search on milk punch will reveal that Benjamin Franklin practically owns the brand, having sent a famous recipe to his friend James Bowdoin back in October of, oh, you know, 1763. Milk punch is historically akin to a posset -- milk combined with an acidic liquid like wine or citrus, which curdles the milk. Palates in the Middle Ages may have sipped this merrily, but I prefer a smoother approach. (But we've accounted for you all -- find variations to please any taste below.)
Here it is: a spirited combination of rum, brandy and splash of water, all stirred into a sugar base and layered with good, creamy milk. It’s a close cousin of eggnog, sans the eggs. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t trim a tree without some kind of rum-spiked beverage standing by.
Holiday Milk Punch
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons water
2 ounces brandy
1 ounce aged rum
¼ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons half-and-half or heavy cream
Put sugar in a small bowl. Add water, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add rum and brandy.
Combine milk and cream; place in shaker with some ice. Add rum mixture and shake well. Strain into an Irish Coffee glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg and enjoy.
Photos by James Ransom