Milk punch is an old fashioned cocktail that originated sometime in the 17th century. Fans of eggnog will note that it is similar to the classic holiday drink, but it doesn’t include any eggs. It uses brandy (or bourbon or rum), a bit of sugar and milk to make a cocktail that is rich and creamy without being too heavy. Since it is such a simple drink, it is easy to use it as a canvas on which to add a few additional flavors. I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with my homemade Pumpkin Spice Extract over the last couple of weeks and added it to a milk punch recipe to create a very seasonal Pumpkin Spice Milk Punch.
The cocktail is a bit like drinking a milkshake – but a much boozier milkshake than you’re likely to find at your favorite burger stand. It has a generous dose of pumpkin spice to it, spice which blends very well with the brandy and rum that make this a very adult drink. I used half and half in my recipe with good results. You can substitute whole milk, but I recommend sticking with a higher fat dairy product for the best results. This recipe makes two reasonably-sized servings and can easily be doubled to serve a small crowd.
You will want to use a dark rum to get the best results in this milk punch. Dark rums have a rich molasses flavor that blends very well with the spices in the extract. A light rum will still make a drinkable punch, but you won’t get the same depth of flavor as you will with dark rum. I used both maple syrup and simple syrup (an easy to make sweetener for all drinks that is made by dissolving sugar in an equal amount of water) to sweeten the drink, using less maple syrup because I didn’t want it to overwhelm the pumpkin spices. You can adjust the sweeteners to your taste if you prefer you drinks to be sweeter or have a more brandy-forward finish.
Garnish the punch with freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg, both of which will give the drink a wonderful aroma as you sip!
Pumpkin Spice Milk Punch
2 oz brandy
1 oz dark rum
2 tsp pumpkin spice extract
1/4 oz maple syrup
1/4 oz simple syrup
3 oz half and half
whole cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until well-chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into two ice-filled glasses. Using a microplane, grate some cinnamon and nutmeg over the top of each glass.