When the holiday season approaches, you may be looking for a fun and festive cocktail recipe to share at holiday parties. While mulled cider and rum punch typically come to mind, milk punch is having a moment right now. Interestingly, this recipe has been around for hundreds of years and was one of the most popular cocktails of the 18th century.
These days, however, many individuals are looking to use non-alcoholic spirits to give their recipes the same flavor but with none of the negative health effects or the risk of a hangover the next day. Thankfully, Seir Hill offers a delicious whiskey-alternative to make this milk punch a surefire hit. Warm up your mugs, and let's learn how to make a non-alcoholic milk punch.
A Brief History of Milk Punch
If you're unfamiliar with this cocktail, that's likely because it hasn't been in vogue for quite a while. However, adding alcohol, sugar, and spices to milk can make a delicious treat, which is why it was so popular in the 1700s and 1800s.
The first recipe is believed to date back to the 1600s, but it took a little while to catch on. Milk punch didn't really take off until a 17th-century playwright named Aphra Behn mentioned the cocktail in one of her plays. Because the play was so popular, many people started making their own milk punches, and it spread throughout the colonies and in England.
As far as written recipes, the oldest one on record was written in 1711 in a cookbook by Mary Rockett. Not only did milk punch taste delicious, but it also helped keep milk from spoiling, so it was both practical and enjoyable.
Many notable people of the period liked milk punch, especially when mixed with whiskey or bourbon. Some of the most famous individuals include Ben Franklin, Queen Victoria, and Charles Dickens.
Franklin created a rather strong recipe, which he included in a letter to a friend in 1763. Queen Victoria was so smitten by the cocktail that she hired a company just to supply the royal family with as much as they could drink. As for Dickens, some bottles of milk punch were found in his wine cellar after he died, proving how well the cocktail could stay fresh for months at a time.
One interesting fact about milk punch is that it can be both milky white and clear. For the English, clarified milk punch was the version of choice, which made the beverage look more like vodka or water than anything resembling milk.
In this case, users would heat the milk or mix it with citrus, causing it to curdle. Once all the milk hardened, you'd have to strain the mixture through a cheesecloth to get all the clumps out. The result was a clarified cocktail that tasted like the sum of its parts, not a bitter, curdled mess.
Since both versions of milk punch are pretty easy to make, we'll discuss both recipes here. If you're feeling saucy, you can try both and see which one you prefer.
What You'll Need to Make a Non-Alcoholic Whiskey Milk Punch
Typically, whiskey is the preferred liquor of choice for milk punch, but you can experiment with other options like rum or brandy. We don't recommend using something like tequila as that will change the entire flavor profile and could be pretty off-putting.
If you want the simplest version of a milk punch, you don't have to clarify the mixture and you can serve it cold. The ingredients and materials needed for that include:
- 8 oz Whole Milk
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 tsp Powdered Sugar
- 2 oz Mashville Alcohol-Free Whiskey
- Cocktail Shaker
- Tumbler Glass
If you want to make a larger batch, you can double or triple each ingredient as necessary to make it taste better. Because this is the simpler version, you don't need many ingredients to make it work. You can also add a cinnamon stick as a garnish with a dash of cinnamon on top if you like.
For clarified milk punch, you need the following:
- 1 cup Lemon Juice
- 1/2 cup Simple Syrup
- 2 Cups Water
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 3 cups Mashville Non-Alcoholic Whiskey
- 1.5 cups Whole Milk
- 1/4 tsp Calcium Chloride
- 1/4 Table Rennet
- Large Pot
- Cheesecloth (Enough to Strain the Whole Pot)
- Punch Bowl or Serving Pitcher
As you can see, this recipe is a bit more complicated, but the results speak for themselves. The calcium chloride and rennet are there to make the milk clump easier. When the recipe was first developed, people only drank raw, unpasteurized milk. These days, all milk is pasteurized, so it doesn't turn into cheese as well as it did in the past.
The pot allows you to keep the concoction warm, which helps the curdling process. You don't necessarily need to heat your punch, but it will yield better results faster than if you let the citrus and rennet work by themselves.
There are two pitchers listed because you must prep your milk overnight in one container and then strain it into another. Realistically, you want to use a fresh pitcher for the final product.
How to Make a Non-Alcoholic Milk Punch Recipe
For the easier recipe, you just have to add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and then strain into a glass. We recommend using a whiskey ice ball so it doesn't melt too fast and water down your mocktail. You can also switch up the spices and sugars used, but we'll discuss alternatives in the next section.
For clarified alcohol-free bourbon milk punch (the tastier of the two), follow these steps:
Step One: Prep Your Milk
Add the calcium chloride to the milk and let it sit overnight. This additive will make the milk easier to curdle so you don't have to filter the mixture multiple times. Otherwise, the results will be slightly cloudy and won't taste as smooth.
Step Two: Heat the First Set of Ingredients
In a large pot, put the lemon juice (best if from fresh lemons), water, nutmeg, sugar, and Mashville together. The only remaining ingredients should be the prepped milk and the rennet. Heat this mixture on a low setting until the sugar dissolves.
Step Three: Add the Milk and Rennet
Put the rennet into the pot first, then the milk. Stir everything for about 10 seconds so it's fully mixed. Then, remove the pot from the stove and let it sit for at least two hours. If you check the mix and it's still a bit cloudy, you can wait longer for the milk to curdle.
Step Four: Strain the Mocktail
You may need some assistance to get this right since you don't want to spill the curdled cocktail all over the place. Cheesecloth works, or you can put a large coffee filter over a mesh strainer and get the same results. Place a punch bowl or pitcher underneath the strainer and pour the liquid out.
Be careful not to overfill the strainer, as it will take a while for the liquid to seep through. So, you'll have to pour in batches. Also, you should lightly press on the curds to squeeze out all the liquid.
Step Four: Chill and Enjoy
Clarified milk punch is best served cold, so you'll want to chill the entire concoction for at least a few hours. However, if you have guests who want to sample the drink immediately, you can just add ice for a similar effect.
Milk Punch Recipe Alternatives
We recommend starting with the basic recipe and then graduating to the clarified version afterward. Also, you need to trust the curdling process. Many people have wondered if the results would be disgusting, and everyone is always pleasantly surprised.
Here are some other ways to kick up your milk punch:
- Use Non-Alcoholic Rum - Seir Hill has an award-winning rum alternative that changes the dynamic of the mocktail and makes it a bit spicier and more exotic.
- Use Other Citrus Fruits - Oranges and limes can add an extra layer of flavor to the final product and make it easier to curdle the milk fats.
- Use Plant-Based Milk - You can't make clarified milk punch from vegan milk options, but they can offer a dairy-free alternative if you're making a basic punch.