Bourbon Milk Punch is a decadent New Orleans cocktail that’s ideal to serve with brunch or any time when you want the good times to roll. Follow our easy Bourbon Milk Punch recipe and craft the creamy dreamy cocktail in just five minutes.
Bourbon Milk Punch is a versatile drink which means you can drink Bourbon Milk Punch any time of year, at anytime of day, including brunch. Especially brunch.
Despite its rich flavor and frothy appearance, it’s easy to craft Bourbon Milk Punch at home with bourbon and a handful of pantry items. You can whip up a batch for a party. Better yet, you can follow our easy recipe and craft one for yourself.
What Is Milk Punch?
If you think that Milk Punch looks like Eggnog, you’re not far from the mark.
Not only does Milk Punch look like Eggnog, but it also tastes like Eggnog. However, despite these similarities, Milk Punch doesn’t have eggs in its ingredient list and doesn’t require a whisk or hand blender. But it does have bourbon (or brandy or rum), which makes Milk Punch A-OK in our book.
Feeling festive? Check out our boozy bourbon eggnog recipe.
This isn’t a new drink for us. We have vivid memories of first tasting Milk Punch at the original Tujague’s in New Orleans more than a decade ago. Needless to say, that first Milk Punch wasn’t our last.
However, we’re relatively new at crafting Milk Punch at home. To be honest, we thought that doing so would be complicated, possibly involving big jugs and days of prep time. We’re pleased to report that our fears were unfounded.
That being said, clarified Milk Punch, a clear version favored by Charles Dickens during the 19th century, does indeed have a more challenging recipe. We’ll give Milk Punch’s clear cousin a try one day. But, for now, we’re perfectly content to sip luscious Milk Punch doused with bourbon. Once you take one sweet sip, you’ll understand our contentment.
History of Milk Punch
Milk Punch has been a New Orleans favorite for centuries but its roots go further and farther.
Before Milk Punch jumped the pond, it made life sweeter in the British Isles where it was likely invented in the 17th century and appeared in both vintage British cookbooks and Queen Victoria’s castle. Interestingly, the original Milk Punch wasn’t creamy and didn’t have bourbon in its recipe.
Things changed for Milk Punch after it jumped the pond.
Not only did Ben Franklin create a boozy version with lots of sugar and lemon, but mixologists in New Orleans took Milk Punch to the next level, eventually transforming the party punch into a brunchy beverage. The creamy cocktail is especially popular at Brennan’s where mixologists craft two ‘classic eye openers’ for those looking to cure their hangovers with two tasty tipples – one with brandy and the other with bourbon and rum.
Whether Milk Punch cures a hangover or creates one is debatable. Either way, it’s become an iconic cocktail in a city known for its cocktail culture. We’ll just call it one creamy, dreamy ‘hair of the dog’ and leave it there.
Discover the most iconic New Orleans cocktails as well as the city’s most iconic bars. Then explore the best Mardi gras cocktails.
Bourbon Milk Punch Ingredients
Most Bourbon Milk Punch recipes are similar but different. Some include powdered sugar and maple syrup. Others replace or enhance bourbon with brandy, rum and even cognac.
Our recipe includes the following ingredients:
You likely have all of these items already. If not, you should be able to purchase them at your local market and/or liquor store.
We use Kentucky’s Four Roses bourbon in our Bourbon Milk Punch recipe.
A staple in our home bar, Four Roses bourbon is great in cocktails since its flavors are relatively mild with hints of both vanilla and caramel. It’s also one of the more affordable bourbons produced in Kentucky and has a 40% ABV, the lowest possible ABV for Kentucky bourbon.
Discover our favorite bourbon cocktails.
How To Craft a Bourbon Milk Punch Cocktail
You don’t need any special bar tools to craft Bourbon Milk Punch at home. We use a Japanese jigger , cocktail strainer and Boston shaker in our recipe but you can improvise if you’re missing any or all of these bar tools.
Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.
The first step is to measure two ounces each of bourbon, cream and whole milk and one ounce of simple syrup. We use a Japanese jigger in this and other cocktail recipes to ensure accurate measurements and clean pours.
Purchase a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.
Pour each liquid directly into a shaker. We always use a Boston shaker since it’s easy to use and quick to clean. Our pretty shakers alway leak and are occasionally difficult to open.
Purchase a Boston Shaker from Amazon if you don’t have a shaker or want an inexpensive upgrade.
Next, measure a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract and pour it into the shaker with the other liquids.
You likely have measuring spoons already. If not, you can order a set from Amazon.
Once all of the liquids are in the closed shaker, shake vigorously until they’re thoroughly mixed and chilled. This step typically takes us 20 to 30 seconds.
Next, strain the drink directly into a glass. We like to use coupe glasses for this particular cocktail. You could also serve it in a lowball glass on the rocks.
The last step is to lightly grate nutmeg directly on to the cocktail.
When it comes to grating nutmeg, a little bit goes a long way.
The goal is a light dusting – just enough to finish the drink without overwhelming its sweet flavor.
Bourbon Milk Punch Alternatives
While we’re fans of this Bourbon Milk Punch recipe, you may want to experiment with the cocktail to make it your own. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Milk Punch FAQs
Milk Punch is creamy cocktail that’s similar to Eggnog. However, unlike Eggnog, this boozy beverage is egg-free.
Milk Punch was probably invented in the UK before it found popularity in the US.
Bourbon (or Rum or Brandy), Cream, Whole Milk, Simple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Ice (for shaking) and Grated Nutmeg (garnish)
Milk Punch is shaken, not stirred.
We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a small martini glass instead.
Bourbon Milk Punch Recipe
Bourbon Milk Punch Cocktail
Follow our easy Bourbon Milk Punch recipe and craft the creamy dreamy cocktail for your next brunch or Mardi Gras party.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces cream
- 2 ounces milk
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- nutmeg, freshly grated
- ice cubes
- Combine bourbon, cream, milk, simple syrup and vanilla extract in a shaker.
- Add several ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds until the liquids are mixed and chilled.
- Strain into a martini or coupe glass.
- Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
You can optionally serve this cocktail on the rocks in a lowball glass.
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OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer
Norpro Nutmeg Grater
McCormick Gourmet Organic Whole Nutmeg, 1.5 oz
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: January 19, 2022