I know what you are thinking: bourbon and milk sounds like a recipe for vomit disaster. Well I would never suggest you swallow something that I haven’t swallowed myself, and not only is the Milk Punch delicious, it is one of my new favorites! I enjoy drinking it as much as I enjoy pissing bartenders off when I order it. (BTW, I am a bartender – no hate mail. Two bartenders challenging each other to make obscure drinks is like two Marines challenging each other to a pull up contest.)

Still, some refuse to guzzle milk mingled with bourbon, in which case some innovative bartenders have crafted clear milk punches. The New York Times covered the Milk Punch revival, and noted that “…These drinks are not creamy, like the brandy or bourbon milk punches common in New Orleans; they are clarified elixirs. Cold ingredients are combined with hot milk so that the milk curdles; the blend is filtered repeatedly until the liquid becomes clear. This can take hours…the clarified milk leads to an ‘aha’ moment, like, ‘There’s milk in there?’”

In 1763, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a colleague with an enclosed recipe for milk punch. His recipe called for brandy, citrus juice, water, and sugar combined with boiling milk, then strained of the milk’s solids–which can be stored indefinitely at room temperature. While our recipe replaces bourbon with brandy and doesn’t go through the steps to remove the solids, Ben’s recipe shows us that this thing has been around for a while.

Southern Bourbon Milk Punch
photo credit

The Milk Punch makes a great after dinner drink, and if you have the cojones to whip one up, you will be rewarded with one of the most original and best tasting classic cocktails around. Here’s a Milk Punch recipe that you can try today:


  • 1 1/4 ounces bourbon of your choice
  • 1/2 ounce Myers rum
  • 2 ounces of milk (the secret ingredient!)
  • 1/8 ounce vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup**
  • Dash of grated nutmeg


In a mixing glass three-quarters filled with ice, pour the bourbon, rum, milk or cream, vanilla and simple syrup. Shake vigorously until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass. Dust with nutmeg.

**If you don’t feel like making simple syrup (and I never feel like making simple syrup), buy some here. Its cheap and will save you some time and mess.

If you have experienced the joys of a milk punch, leave a review below. Feel free to shout out the bar that prepared it for you, or your own recipe!