New Orleans is a city known for its signature drinks. The Ramos Gin Fizz and the Sazerac are both NOLA staples that have taken flight far beyond New Orleans’ borders. A third drink, that is still a treasure beloved by locals, is the city’s milk punch. A number of cities around the world have a milk punch variation, but the New Orleans version is known for its brandy base, as well as being more of a creamy, downright gluttonous concoction (this is the Big Easy, after all). It’s almost as if the drink has a nostalgic taste to it, invoking flavors of times past, which fits perfectly with New Orleans’ old world style. While it was traditionally a Christmas drink, in contemporary times, it’s become a brunch staple. Perhaps the milk makes it a more appropriate drink to enjoy when the sun is still at its peak.
We asked a handful of New Orleans restaurants to share their recipes for the rest of us to enjoy at home. Classic Crescent City restaurant Galatoire’s offers up a traditional version of the cocktail. Mixologist Laura Belluci, from SoBou, takes a modern approach to the cocktail, while the pastry shop and tea salon, Sucré, offers an indulgent gelato rendition. For those who prefer bourbon over brandy, check out Brady’s Wine Warehouse’s delightful recipe.
By Galatoire’s Restaurants
2 oz. Premium Brandy
5 oz. Whole Milk
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Simple Syrup
1 dash nutmeg
Directions: Pour the brandy, milk, vanilla and simple syrup into cocktail shaker. Fill a highball glass to almost full with ice cubes and transfer ice to the shaker. Shake well and pour the drink into the highball glass. Dust the top of the drink with nutmeg.
By Laura Bellucci of SoBou
1.5 oz. Honey Nut Cheerios infused Black Magic rum
0.75 oz. Clover honey syrup
3 Dashes El Guapo holiday pie bitters
4 oz. Whole milk
Directions: After infusing rum with Honey Nut Cheerios (simply steep the Cheerios in the rum for 1-2 days and strain thoroughly), add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Garnish with Cheerios and ground cinnamon.
4.5 oz. Gelato
0.5 oz. Brandy
1.5 oz. Rougaroux 13 Pennies Praline Rum
Directions: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and strain into a tall glass. Garnish w fresh grated nutmeg. Serve it with a second scoop of gelato on the side.
By Richard Ellis, Director of Spirits at Brady’s Wine Warehouse
1.5 tsp. Confectioners’ sugar
1.5 oz. Whole milk
1.5 oz. Chicory coffee
1.5 oz. Small scoop vanilla ice cream
1.5 oz. Bourbon
0.75 oz. Dark rum
Freshly grated nutmeg (for garnish)
Directions: Stir together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, coffee, and the ice cream. Stir in the spirits. To serve, pour into ice-filled glasses and top with grated nutmeg.
Madina Papadopoulos is a New York-based freelance writer, author and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her drink adventures on Instagram and Twitter.