Martha Foose's Milk Punch

Photo courtesy of Robert M. Peacock, from Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions & Classic Libations, Chronicle Books

A little cup of old school milk punch will keep the holidays merry and bright

The first time Mississippi chef Martha Hall Foose tasted milk punch, she was at the Chart House in New Orleans, and now the drink is a staple on her holiday menu. Foose, the author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and a James Beard Award-winner, may have found the key to surviving the holidays. “We drink milk punch on Christmas morning after the presents are opened,” Foose says. “Then we all get back in our beds with a big glass while brunch is cooking in the oven.”

Made from half-and-half, superfine sugar, vanilla extract, ice cubes, freshly grated nutmeg, and bourbon or brandy, milk punch is a little bit like a traditional eggnog—minus the raw eggs.

If you try out the recipe, just remember two things. First, the freshly grated nutmeg is sprinkled on top of the punch, never in it. Second, just like eggnog, it’s real easy to find yourself two glasses deep in a hurry.

Milk Punch
Serves 1

1 ½ oz. good bourbon or brandy
2 oz. half-and-half
1 tsp. superfine sugar
Drop of vanilla extract
Ice cubes
Freshly grated numeg

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.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, Clarkson Potter, 2008.