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Drinking at Drink, and a Recipe for Milk Punch

21.March 2011

If you’ve talked to me in the last few months, you’ll know already that I’ve become an increasingly rabid fan of the bar Drink in Fort Point.  If you haven’t heard about it, you should know it’s the best bar ever.  They specialize in carefully and artfully mixed cocktails – though they do have beer and wine – but they don’t have a cocktail menu.  You simply tell them what you’d like, be it a classic or something unusual, and they create something, generally spectacular.  I’ve given them such vague descriptions as “something festive and sparkly,” “something herbal, but I don’t really like gin,” and “I think I like chartreuse.  Can you tell me about it?” and the brilliant bartenders are unfailingly helpful, knowledgeable, and only pour drinks that are amazing.  It’s quite an experience.

When I was there recently, a particularly chatty bartender was talking to us about cocktails and mentioned, off-hand, that you can call ahead and order a punchbowl.  A PUNCHBOWL.  We promptly decided to come back immediately, which we did, with eight friends, and ordered a bowl of punch.  Our instructions were: no gin, no vodka, and no bourbon (based on the tastes of our friends), and suggested that ginger might be nice.  We ended up with an amazing MASSIVE bowl of punch that was spicy and sweet, not too fruity, and quite delicious.  I went straight out and bought a punchbowl of my own so that we can relive this fantastic evening as frequently as we like.

The other thing that’s great about Drink is that they’re very generous with freebies.  Every time I’ve been there, I’ve been given tastes of at least one liquor, usually more (this last time, I was given generous pours of both yellow and green chartreuse so I could choose which one to incorporate into a drink).  The best freebie I’ve received there, however, is milk punch, a drink made (nastily enough) from curdled milk and alcohol.  When you hear it described, you’ll think it’s a truly horrible idea, but I can assure you it’s not.  It’s light, but has body (something in the milk makes the drink almost viscous), and can take on a dizzying number of flavors.  Recently I’ve had tastes of Drink’s Mai Tai Milk Punch and Coffee Milk Punch.  Both are delicious.

After our last trip, I started doing some research and decided to make my own.  It seems that a drink called a punch traditionally has five ingredients: alcohol, citrus, spice, sugar, and water.  Water is represented by milk, I chose rum as my spirits, blood orange as the citrus, sugar as the sugar, and cinnamon and nutmeg as the spices.  The resulting drink is pink, with the heady flavor of blood oranges, spice finishing out the flavor, and the smooth texture of the milk  rounding the whole thing out.  Quite delicious.  I have plans to make many, many more of these as soon as possible and recommend you do the same.  And, if you go to Drink, ask for a taste!

Spiced Blood Orange Milk Punch

  • 1 c blood orange simple syrup (1 c sugar, 1 c water, rind of 2 blood oranges)
  • 325 ml spiced rum
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 c fresh blood orange juice
  • 1 c fresh whole milk
  1. Make your simple syrup: combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until sugar begins to dissolve.
  2. Throw in the pared rind of two blood oranges and continue to stir until sugar entirely dissolves and syrup begins to boil.
  3. Remove from heat, pour into heatproof glass bowl and leave to steep at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Bring milk and spices to a simmer and scald for 1 minute (cook the milk up to about 180 degrees – do not boil).
  5. Remove milk from heat.  Add rum and orange juice to simple syrup.  Stir to combine.
  6. Pour hot milk into rum/syrup mixture.  At this point the mixture will begin to curdle and look a lot like vomit.  Try not to focus on it.
  7. Leave the mixture to fully curdle and cool for about a half hour.
  8. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  9. Then strain through a jelly cloth/pillowcase/coffee filter.  The resulting mixture should be clear and have no curdles left in it.
  10. Chill, store in fridge, serve cold in tiny glasses.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    21.March 2011 19:51

    Next time you’re in Boulder, CO, check out the Bitter Bar, which is the local speakeasy that takes over Happy Noodle House after 10pm. Dunno about milk punches, but very similar with the tastings and ability to create a drink with the instructions “something sparkly and fruity with not sweet”. Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco is good, too, but the bartenders are less inspired and more menu-based. Cheers!

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      23.March 2011 09:44

      I’ve never been to Boulder, but it sounds like I should go. Also, any bar with bourbon in the name is okay by me.

  2. Jamie permalink
    21.March 2011 21:09

    Can’t WAIT to try your milk punch. And thank you for posting the delicious-looking final product rather than the disconcerting middle stage of production. I am all for drinking delicious drinks, but I can’t handle the curdle…

  3. Jamie permalink
    21.March 2011 21:10

    Although I’ve discovered that I do like drinks with raw egg in them, so who knows? Maybe I’m braver than I thought.

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      23.March 2011 09:43


      • ACD permalink
        29.March 2011 12:37

        Really? Are you sure you haven’t had a drink with raw egg in it at my house? (Pink lady? Good humor?) We went through quite a long phase wof making them.

      • Darby O'Shea permalink*
        29.March 2011 13:53

        Nope. Definitely too squeamish for that. But then, it’s important to remember that COOKED eggs make me want to yak almost every time I eat them. Raw just isn’t going to happen.

  4. 21.March 2011 23:53

    I can personally vouch for the tastiness of this lovely milk punch, and the texture has to be tried to be believed… silky is probably the best word for it. An elegant little libation.

  5. 22.March 2011 08:13

    I’ve never had milk punch, or been to Drink, but you’ve convinced me to try both!

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      23.March 2011 09:43

      Molly: Both ideas are very, very good!

  6. 24.March 2011 08:35

    We love milk punch, make it every Thanksgiving. And we’ve used the same recipe for years. Thanks for showing us a new twist.

  7. 27.March 2011 18:30

    I want to drink this very badly, milk allergy be damned!

  8. Lulularn permalink
    28.March 2011 22:22

    Sounds yummy! : )


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