Clarified milk punch, also called English milk punch, or clear milk punch, is a style of drink that has been around since the 17th century. Clear, silky and slightly tart, clarified milk drinks are especially great during the holidays, and can sub in for your usual Eggnog while being lighter and easier to pair with food.
The Lemon Bar Clarified Punch, unsurprisingly, is modeled after the flavor of lemon bars. Portland, Oregon, bartender Joel Schmeck designed the drink while working at the now-closed Southern restaurant Irving Street Kitchen. “Capturing the essence of lemon bars, our milk punch utilizes gorgeous winter citrus with fresh Meyer lemon juice, as well as a Meyer lemon baking spice oleo saccharum, graham-cracker-steeped organic whole milk, aged rum, amaro and liqueur,” says Anna Caporael, who worked as general manager at the restaurant.
Admittedly, like any clarified milk drink, this one takes some time and effort to construct, especially as it requires you to make oleo saccharum, one of its crucial ingredients. Caporael’s suggestion is “Plan to make this recipe during a rainy week and reward yourself at the weekend.”
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 Meyer lemons, peeled
- 2 quarts nonhomogenized whole milk
- 1/2 box graham crackers, crushed
- 5 lemons (regular)
- 29 ounces Flor de Caña four-year-old rum
- 7 ounces Licor 43 liqueur
- 5 ounces Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
- 5 ounces Batavia Arrack
- Garnish: ground nutmeg
First, make oleo saccharum: Crack the cinnamon sticks with a mortar and pestle, and add them to a nonreactive container along with the powdered sugar, vanilla beans and Meyer lemon peels (reserving the lemons). Muddle the peels, then let the mixture set for 1 day.
In a separate nonreactive container, combine the whole milk and crushed graham crackers, steep in the refrigerator for 1 day, then strain out the solids.
Juice the Meyer and regular lemons, and add them to the oleo saccharum along with the rum, amaro, liqueur and Batavia Arrack, and stir to combine.
To clarify the punch, slowly pour the lemon-liquor mixture into the strained whole milk.
Once it has started to curdle, place the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days, then strain it through a cheesecloth-lined chinois and then a coffee filter if necessary. Keep the punch chilled.
To serve, pour 3-ounce servings into rocks glasses or punch cups over ice.
Garnish with ground nutmeg.