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Brandy Milk Punch

drinks_brandy_milk_punch

Brandy Milk Punch

1.5 oz Remy Martin Cognac
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Half-and-Half
Dash Vanilla (optional)

Shake with ice.
Either strain into a rocks glass filled with ice or skip the strain and include the ice from the shaker in your pour.
Garnish with freshly-grated Nutmeg
Serve with a straw.


* * *

This morning, the Mrs. and I began making our Easter brunch plans. With this being our little guy’s first real Easter, she wants to do a big holiday spread at home. Friends, family — the more the merrier. Since my most recent post was the Mint Julep, I guess my mind was still stuck in NOLA, because the moment I heard the word “brunch”, I thought Brandy Milk Punch — and for good reason.

Obvious rhyme scheme aside, Brandy Milk Punch and brunch go together like, well… punch and brunch. Sure, Mimosas are fine if you’re hitting a big casino buffet in Reno, Nevada, but if you find yourself needing to negotiate a peace between last night’s bacchanalia and the forthcoming carb onslaught, Corporal Brandy Milk Punch is your man. Actually, that’s doing the lad an injustice. We’re using Remy VSOP, so the drink gets a battlefield promotion to Colonel, at least.

A New Orleans staple, Brandy Milk Punch can probably best be thought of as a very, very light eggnog. There’s no cooking, no egg, but the general arena of taste is similar. Milk Punches, in fact, go back several hundred years, and they’re earned quite a reputation. To borrow a quote surfaced by David Wondrich in his book Imbibe:  Milk Punch is “the surest thing in the world to get drunk on, and so tearfully drunk, that you won’t know whether you are a cow, yourself, or some other foolish thing” (Brooklyn Eagle, 1873).

Getting your drunk on aside, what really excites me about the drink is the magic act it performs. I’ve racked my brain, and I can think of no other drink that can do the same. Somehow when you combine cream, vanilla, sugar, and spirit with a vigorous shake of ice, you get something so light and delicate, it’s quite unexpected. But that’s not the magic bit. The magic bit is how quickly it vanishes. Honestly, I’ve poured many a Brandy Milk Punch, only to witness its owner, just a few moments later, reach for an empty glass. The things just disappear.

Note: Do not take a shortcut and skip the nutmeg or substitute pre-ground. It’s a simple enough task to come by a stash of whole nutmeg and a Microplane grater. You will be rewarded.


Variations:
Bourbon, rye, rum, brandy plus rum — all work exceptionally well here. It’s also a drink that doesn’t suffer adversely if you lower the spirit or up the milk to taste.   Whole milk alone works well too. Equal parts heavy cream and whole milk will get you half-and-half.

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