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Bourbon Milk Punch

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 on Floral Tray and Purple Background

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?

Bourbon Milk Punch from Above with Black Background.jpg
Unlike Eggnog, Milk Punch is popular all year long.

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.

Bourbon Milk Punch from Above with Purple Background
Milk Punch is especially popular in New Orleans, an American city where the good times roll all day and into the night.

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.

Discover more of our favorite Pre-Prohibition cocktails.

History Of Milk Punch

Milk Punch in Lake Charles Louisiana
We drank this Milk Punch in Lake Charles, a Louisiana city that’s 200 miles west of New Orleans.

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.

Brandy Milk Punch at Brennans in New Orleans
Drinking this Milk Punch at Brennan’s inspired us to craft Milk Punch at home.

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

Bourbon Milk Punch Ingredients and Tools
The ingredients for our Bourbon Milk Punch recipe include bourbon, cream, milk, simple syrup, vanilla extract and nutmeg.

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:

  • Bourbon
  • Cream
  • Whole Milk
  • Simple Syrup
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Ice Cubes (for shaking)
  • Grated Nutmeg (garnish)

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.

Bourbon Milk Punch and Four Roses Bourbon
Four Roses is our liquor of choice when crafting Bourbon Milk Punch at home.

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

Crafted Bourbon Milk Punch
Crafting a Bourbon Milk Punch is almost as easy as drinking the creamy cocktail.

The first step in this recipe 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.

Measuring Cream for Bourbon Milk Punch Recipe
Measuring the ingredients with a Japanese jigger reduces both muss and fuss.

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.

Pouring Bourbon for Bourbon Milk Punch Recipe
A Boston Shaker is another bar tool that makes our mixology sessions both clean and easy.

Next, measure a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract and pour it into the shaker with the other liquids.

Measuring Vanilla Extract for Bourbon Milk Punch Recipe
Vanilla extract transforms this creamy cocktail to dreamy status.

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.

Straining Bourbon Milk Punch into Coupe Glass
Milk Punch is a cocktail that’s shaken, not stirred.

The last step is to lightly grate nutmeg directly on to the cocktail.

Grating Nutmeg for Bourbon Milk Punch
Adding grated nutmeg is the final step and the one that adds a finishing touch.

When it comes to grating nutmeg, a little bit goes a long way.

Bourbon Milk Punch from Above with Red Background
Bourbon Milk Punch is a potent potable that you’ll want to make again and again.

The goal is a light dusting – just enough to finish the drink without overwhelming its sweet flavor.

Bourbon Milk Punch Alternatives

Bourbon Milk Punch with Necklace with Pink Background.jpg
Will you be a fan of the classic Bourbon Milk Punch or will you want to add your own flair? There’s only one way to find out.

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:

  • Replace the bourbon with brandy to craft a Brandy Milk Punch cocktail.
  • Replace half of the bourbon with rum to craft a Bourbon Rum Milk Punch cocktail.
  • Add a shot of your favorite liqueur for an extra kick. Options include coffee liqueur (i.e. Kahlúa) and Irish Cream (i.e. Bailey’s).
  • Infuse the simple syrup with vanilla beans to intensify the vanilla flavor.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Recipe FAQs

What is Milk Punch?

Milk Punch is creamy cocktail that’s similar to Eggnog. However, unlike Eggnog, this boozy beverage is egg-free.

Where was Milk Punch invented?

Milk Punch was probably invented in the UK before it found popularity in the US.

What are the ingredients in Milk Punch?

Bourbon (or Rum or Brandy), Cream, Whole Milk, Simple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Ice (for shaking) and Grated Nutmeg (garnish)

Is Milk Punch shaken or stirred?

Milk Punch is shaken, not stirred.

What type of glass is best for Milk Punch?

We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a small martini glass instead.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Bourbon Milk Punch with Pink Background.jpg
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Bourbon Milk Punch Recipe

Follow our easy Bourbon Milk Punch recipe and craft the creamy dreamy cocktail for your next brunch or Mardi Gras party.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 437kcal


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces cream
  • 2 ounces milk
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • ice cubes (for shaking)


  • 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.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 159mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 1mg
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About The Authors

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 their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.

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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We purchased all ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

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Original Publication Date: January 19, 2022

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