Clarified milk punch is our favourite craft cocktail prepared with gin and milk.
This classic gin milk cocktail recipe uses a process of clarification using a fine sieve and coffee filters. Traditional clarified gin and milk produces a transparent, bright and boozy citrus cocktail.
Ranked as one of the world’s most famous milk cocktails, Clarified Gin and Milk Punch is a popular festive drink served around the holidays at Christmas and New Years Eve.
Our authentic recipe features premium gin, fresh milk, Triple Sec Orange Liqueur, lemon juice, orange juice, simple syrup and a rosemary sprig.
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What Is Gin and Milk Punch?
Classic recipes consist of fresh dairy milk, the desired spirit, sugar or simple syrup, and vanilla extract. It is typically served cold and usually has fragrant nutmeg sprinkled on top.
Bartenders and mixologists who serve Gin Milk Punch at cocktail hour have a natural propensity and enthusiasm for alchemy.
The preparation of boozy clarified milk punch requires time, as the acidic ingredients are poured together, causing the milk to curdle. The solids that contribute to milk’s typical opacity are then strained out. The milk’s sweet whey is then leftover and helps flavour the beverage. It also gives the drink a creamy mouth feel.
The process of making clarified milk punch is often referred to as milk washing or milk clarification.
Our Gin and Milk recipe honours the classic punch cocktail preparation methodology and is flavoured with hints of citrus including Triple Sec Orange Liqueur and fresh orange & lemon juice.
History of Clarified Milk Punch
Gin and Milk may sound like an awful combination but hear me out!
Old fashioned ClarifiedMilk Punch recipes date back to the 18th-century and are older than gin and tonics, which didn’t become popular until the 19th-century.
The drink was first recorded in William Sacheverell’s 1688 travelogue of the Scottish isle of Iona. Later accounts attributed its spread, if not its origin, to Aphra Behn. The earliest recorded recipe for clarified milk punch dates to a 1711 cookbook.
Originally served in a punch bowl, early recipes resembled posset and syllabub in the use of curdled, strained cream, leaving only lactic acid. This technique aimed at food stability, a quality that made it popular as a bottled drink. Curdling could be accomplished through the addition of alcohol or acid, by heating, or both, such as in a recipe recorded by Benjamin Franklin in 1763 that used brandy and lemon added to hot milk.
The beverage reached the height of its popularity in the middle of the 18th-century. Because of its shelf stability, it was popular as a bottled drink. Queen Victoria issued a royal warrant in 1838 to the company of Nathaniel Whisson as “purveyors of milk punch to Her Majesty”.
Milk alchemy was central to beverage building at the time, requiring a knowledge of how to manipulate protein, fat to dilute strong spirits into silky potions that could be easily enjoyed.
Modern Gin and Milk Cocktail
As early as the 1960s Britain still had rural pubs whose oldest patrons might order a Pig’s Ear, gin and milk.
In more recent years, mixologists at the world’s most famous cocktail bars have made old school drink recipes like the gin milk popular again.
The first time I ever had a Gin and Milk in punch form was while doing research on the best Luxury Hotel Cocktail Bars in Manhattan.
The friendly mixologist at Bar Fiori at Langham Place suggested I try sipping a historic cocktail recipe and was delighted to find a new favourite in his rendition of Clarified Milk Punch.
Best Selling Gin
Gin has certainly enjoyed a boom in popularity at cocktail bars in recent years. You’ll find fantastic premium gins distilled from Scotland to Muskoka. Here are some of the world’s best selling gins and some of our local small batch favourites:
- Gordon’s Gin: The world’s top selling gin brand is owned by Diageo. The brand’s pink iteration has undoubtedly helped to fuel its success. Gordon’s has also unveiled a line of new innovative products including two “ultra-low-alcohol” pre-mixed gin and tonic sparkling beverages and Gordon’s Gin-infused popsicles.
- Bombay Sapphire Gin: Bacardi-owned Bombay Sapphire is one of the worlds best-selling gins. Bombay Sapphire kicked off a new limited edition range with the launch of a gin inspired by summer in the English countryside.
- Tanqueray: Diageo-owned Tanqueray launched a new marketing campaign developed to shift consumers’ attention from “gimmicks” to flavour and unveiled a range of bottled ready-to-drink gin and tonics, made with its London Dry Gin and Flor de Sevilla Distilled Gin.
- Beefeater Gin: Pernod Ricard’s flagship gin brand is Beefeater. The brand launched strawberry-flavoured Beefeater Pink in 2018 and further expanded its portfolio with the debut of a new blood orange-flavoured gin.
- Seagram’s: Pernod Ricard-owned Seagram’s is a top seller having recently purchased Italian brand Malfy Gin.
- Hendrick’s Gin: Opened the door to its £13 million Gin Palace in 2018, allowing the brand to double its capacity to two million cases annually. The Scottish brand has also added to its portfolio with the launch of the limited edition summer solstice-inspired Midsummer Solstice gin.
- Edinburgh Gin: This craft distillery in Edinburgh produces a parade of flavoured gin bottles including rhubarb & ginger gin, raspberry gin, bramble & honey gin, black currant & anise, strawberry & pink peppercorn and pomegranate & rose.
- Dillon’s Distillery: This Beamsville producer makes small batch gins including rose gin, cherry gin and strawberry gin.
- Muskoka Brewery: This Ontario craft brewery produces a London Dry and spicy pink peppercorn gin.
Travel to Taste the World’s Best Gins
There’s no better way to familiarize yourself with the best Clarified Gin and Milk cocktail or punch recipe then by planning a vacation to visit the world’s best gin distilleries.
The world’s most famous gins can be found in the United Kingdom as well as neighbouring Ireland. The booming gin trend has produced a high demand for premium gins produced by distilleries in Canada and America.
We’ve visited a handful of gin distilleries in Britain as well as a chic gin cocktail bar at the Shangri-La Hotel in Taipei. The gin craze has officially travelled from England to North America, Asia and beyond!
In Scotland we visited Edinburgh Gin for a tour and tasting before enjoying a road trip to the Isle of Islay, which is best known for its famous Islay whisky distilleries. One of the best things to do on the Isle of Islay is pay a visit to Bruichladdich Distillery, which produces its signature whisky as well as Botanist Gin.
In Brighton we visited a tiny micro-distillery called Brighton Gin, one of the best things to do in Brighton for G&T fans. We also stayed at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire to sip our way through the jaw-dropping home of renowned Bombay Sapphire.
Looking to plan the ultimate road trip of Canada to discover the best gins?
Our favourite Canadian gins include Ungava in Quebec, Tawse and Dillon’s in Niagara, Muskoka Brewery in Ontario cottage country, Kinsip House of Fine Spirits in Prince Edward County, North of 7 in Ottawa, Dixon’s in Guelph, Eau Claire Distillery in Alberta, Blackfox in Saskatoon, Ironworks Gin in Nova Scotia and Long Table Distillery in British Columbia.
Best Bartender Tools & Cocktail Equipment
Before hosting a swanky Clarified Milk Punch soiree you’ll need to ensure you have the best bartender tools and cocktail equipment.
- Cocktail Kit: cocktail kits are the perfect gift for newbie mixology fans as they include basic bartender tools like a jigger, shaker and spoon.
- Cocktail Shaker: a bartenders best friend. Purchase a premium cocktail shaker to muddle or shake up your favourite pink gin cocktails.
- Cocktail Glassware: make sure your bar is stocked with a selection of unique glassware to show off your favourite cocktail creations.
- Hawthorne Strainer: this unique strainer features tightly wound coils and perforated holes. It keeps ice and other large ingredients like lime wedges in your cocktail shaker rather than in the glass.
- Bar Spoons: slender and long bar spoons are a must-have when stirring drinks.
- Bottle Opener: easily open bottles of beer or cider with the flick of your wrist or purchase a corkscrew for fine wine.
- Pouring Spout: once you’ve opened a new bottle of gin insert these affordable pourers to make cocktail assembly a breeze.
- Cutting Board: purchase a petite cutting board for your bar to slice garnishes or citrus wedges like lime, orange, lemon or grapefruit.
- Ice Bucket: chill bottles of gin quickly in an ice bucket or keep by the bar when muddling gin mixers into cool creations.
- Ice Crusher: fans of the Mint Julep love an ice crusher.
- Ice Cube Kit: we suggest purchasing a selection of ice cube trays. Silicone styles are our favourite as they’re easy to clean and are available in various shapes and sizes.
- Jigger: use a jigger to accurately measure spirits, juices, syrups and shrubs.
- Juicer: invest in an electronic juicer or buy an affordable hand-held to easily juice fresh citrus like lemons and limes.
- Muddler: fans of the Mojito love a sturdy muddler to mix mint and lime. Muddler’s are handy for any cocktail featuring ingredients that need a pounding like fresh herbs or citrus wedges.
- Citrus Peeler & Zester: adorn your craft cocktails with a thick citrus peel or finer ribbons of lime or lemon zest.
- Rimmer: Bloody Mary and Caesar lovers should outfit their bar with a handy rimmer for salting and sugaring glassware.
Gin and Milk Cocktail Ingredients
Our traditional Gin and Milk Cocktail is made with fresh and premium ingredients.
- Gin: we suggest using Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater or Aviation Gin.
- Triple Sec: is an orange liqueur which helps sweeten the gin and milk cocktail. You could also substitute for Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
- Lemon Juice: only use freshly squeezed lemon juice. You can taste the difference when someone incorrectly muddles cocktails with store bought citrus juice.
- Orange Juice: only use freshly squeezed orange juice. You could also use freshly squeezed mandarin, clementine or blood orange juice.
- Simple Syrup: you can easily make homemade simple syrup, which is prepared by heating equal parts water and white sugar.
- Rosemary: garnish the glass with a fresh sprig of rosemary, which you can pluck from your own herb garden or purchase at your local grocery store.
Gin and Milk Cocktail Tips
This Gin and Milk recipe is easy to make at home but do realize it is a labour of love. It takes a few hours to prepare but isn’t fussy so don’t get overwhelmed by the chemistry.
- BEST CURDLING PROCESS: Slowly add the gin punch into a large measuring glass filled with milk. This ensures the acidity of the liquid slowly increases and you’ll yield a better result. Therefore, do not pour fresh dairy milk into the gin punch.
- BEST CLARIFICATION PROCESS: Once the liquid has curdled pour the contents into a fine mesh sieve. Once all of the contents have passed through the sieve discard the remaining solids that have been strained out. Add a coffee filter to the cleaned out sieve and pass the gin and milk liquid through the coffee filter. This double clarification method ensures the smallest solids are removed and that the clarified milk punch is transparent.
You’ll need to ensure you have time to allow the liquid to slowly strain through a fine mesh sieve and coffee filter. I suggest making this gin milk recipe in the morning and by lunch the liquid will have clarified properly and be ready to enjoy at cocktail hour.
If you’re a fan of Clarified Milk Punch I suggest doubling the recipe and storing the final product in a vintage glass bottle or mason jar. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party or Christmas holiday soiree you can prepare the homemade gin and milk cocktail a few days in advance. We do not suggest preparing a large batch of our gin and milk recipe the day of a special celebration as you might find yourself stressing out as you watch the clarified milk punch slowly drip, drip, dripping as your guests arrive.
We’ve garnished the glass with a fresh lemon wheel and rosemary sprig. Feel free to get creative with your gin milk garnishes by using slices of lime, mandarin, clementine or blood orange. Feel free to substitute rosemary for other fresh herbs like basil, lemon balm or mint.
Offer a tip of your hat or nod to the drinks historic importance by serving the clarified gin and milk in vintage or antique cocktail glasses.
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Best Clarified Gin and Milk Cocktail Recipe
Clarified Citrus Gin and Milk Punch
- Shot Glass
- Measuring Glass
- Coffee Filter
- Cocktail Glass
- 8 oz Gin
- 3 oz Simple Syrup
- 3 oz Lemon Juice
- 3 oz Orange Juice
- 2 oz Triple Sec
- 4 oz Milk
- Rosemary Sprig garnish
- Pour room temperature milk into a large measuring glass.
- In a small measuring glass mix together gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, orange juice and Triple Sec.
- Slowly add the gin punch into the large measuring glass filled with milk.
- The liquid should begin to curdle. The milk solids should separate and rise to the top of the mixture.
- Strain the punch through a sieve. Then take the strained liquid and pass it through a coffee filter. The finer the filter, the better. This can take some time as the liquid slowly passes through the filter so be patient and don't rush the process. Discard the coffee filter filled with milk solids.
- Pour the clarified milk punch into a cocktail glass filled with ice and serve garnished with a rosemary sprig.
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