Milk Punch sounds like something that might be sipped by the elderly members of a ladies sewing circle as they quietly share their prayer lists, but don’t let the name fool you. All of that milk, sugar and vanilla disguises a liberal helping of brandy or bourbon.

Think eggnog without those pesky eggs. Cold and sweet, with a little nutmeg on top.

Easy sipping.

Most Southerners think of Brandy Milk Punch as a Christmas indulgence, but New Orleans has the right idea. There, you’ll find it served year-round, mainly as a brunch cocktail or one hell of a milkshake.

I’m including two recipes here, one for a classic Brandy Milk Punch and the other for the Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch declared top dog at the 2010 Tales of the Toddy event in New Orleans.

This Brandy Milk Punch is blended with crushed ice, but you could also chill the ingredients in the freezer for three hours or so (letting them get slushy on their own) or pour the mixture over ice, depending on your personal preference.

The Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch is very similar, but this Bourbon House recipe uses bourbon instead of brandy and includes a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. It could be the most decadent milkshake ever slurped through a straw. A dessert and a nightcap, all in one glass.

Much too much pleasure for once a year. Even the ladies sewing circle would agree.

Timmy’s Brandy Milk Punch

From John Besh’s “My New Orleans”

Makes 4 servings

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup brandy or bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 gratings fresh nutmeg
  • Handful of ice
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend for 20 seconds.
  2. Strain into glasses of crushed ice, and serve.

Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch

This recipe was voted Best Bourbon Milk Punch at the 2010 Tales of the Toddy event in New Orleans.

Adapted from Barry Himel of Bourbon House, New Orleans (via The Times-Picayune, Dec. 17, 2010)

Makes 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups)

  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup vanilla extract
  • 1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
  • Nutmeg, for garnish
  1. To Make the Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir 1/2 cup granulated sugar into 1/2 cup water. Cook until the sugar dissolves, remove from heat, and let it cool. Set aside the 1/4 cup of simple syrup that you need, and store the rest.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend for 8 seconds.
  3. Pour into glasses, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.