When you first see milk punch, you may think it's a misnomer. Though the 18th-century cocktail is made with milk, it's as transparent as water (okay, more like translucent), which is why contemporary bartenders are as obsessed with it as was Benjamin Franklin back in 1763. But wait, what happens to the, uh, milky stuff? Well, the milk gets mixed with liquor, simple syrup, and dairy-curdling citrus, then those curds get strained out, leaving behind flavorful, alcohol-infused whey. In the era before refrigeration, this process ensured the punch could remain shelf-stable for months.
Since then, this cocktail has remained a New Orleans tradition, an eye-opener that provides much-needed stamina during the whirl of Mardi Gras festivities. But today, bartenders across the country are whipping up their own versions, with liquors ranging from the traditional brandy to vodka. Be forewarned -- some of these recipes are time-intensive... so plan ahead!
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