A classic teaser for eggnog season, milk punches are returning to cocktail menus in force. But the newest variations have a twist—whether clarified, flavored with matcha or bitter melon, or made with non-dairy nut milks.
Horchata at Petite Cocotte (New York, NY)
For a nutty spin on milk punch inspired by Spain’s Basque region, this sipper features Spain’s beloved Horchata de Chufa, a nut milk made from tiger nuts (also called “chufa nuts” or “earth almonds”), along with Santa Teresa 1796 Ron Antiguo de Solera Rum and vodka, and topped with oloroso sherry-spiked whipped cream.
The “Midori” Special at Izakaya (Houston, TX)
Yes, that’s “Midori” in quotes; it’s a cheeky reference to the Midori Sour—but you won’t find the lurid green melon-flavored liqueur in this drink. Rather, this clarified milk punch is made with housemade bitter melon preserve and honeydew juice, along with City of London gin, sake, lime juice and whole milk.
Matcha Milk Punch at Bar Goto (New York, NY)
Surprise! It’s green. It’s also creamy and refreshing, combining sencha green tea, matcha green tea powder, vodka and half-and-half. It’s also an ideal nightcap after an order of rib-sticking okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).
English Milk Punch at Faith & Flower (Los Angeles, CA)
Named as Esquire’s Cocktail of the Year in 2014, this clarified milk punch—along with Betony’s version in NYC—launched a thousand imitations. But it’s still worth seeking out for its complexity alone: This blend of housemade spiced rum contains four different kinds of rum and a spice rack’s worth of spices—plus lemon, Batavia arrack, absinthe and, of course, milk. Rich and refreshing, it’s no surprise that this recipe is copied at other bars.
Great Ray at King Bee (New York, NY)
Seeking a low-ABV punch? Compared to super-boozy versions, this sessionable clarified milk punch from mixology veteran Eben Klemm focuses on genteel Madeira, a fortified wine, and bitter chocolate for a food-friendly pairing.
Brandy Milk Punch at Atwood Restaurant (Chicago, IL)
Head Bartender Ray Anguiano gives an all-American touch to the classic drink, mixing housemade vanilla syrup with Osocalis brandy from California, dressed up with grated nutmeg.
Crème d’Irie at Three Dots and a Dash (Chicago, IL)
This tiki-fied take on milk punch combines two types of rum, sherry, half-and-half, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Via Maris Milk Punch at Kat & Theo (New York, NY)
At this Flatiron newcomer, the triple-clarified milk punch starts with whole milk infused with chai spices (vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, bergamot) and almonds, plus High West Silver Oat whiskey, Batavia arrack and pineapple. The end result is exotic and ever-so-slightly tropical.