Brandy & Herbsaint Milk Punch

(Catching up yet again with stragglers that never made it into the big Cocktail Index …)

This anise-scented variation on our local beloved milk punch comes from Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona and Herbsaint restaurants) and features Herbsaint, New Orleans’ original absinthe substitute. While you may substitute Pernod, Ricard, or any pastis or anise liqueur for the Herbsaint, if you want this to be truly New Orleanian you’ll use la vraie chose.

Herbsaint Original, the 1934 recipe

Herbsaint Original, the 1934 recipe

You’ll especially want to use Herbsaint Original, with the above label. Over the years Herbsaint’s formula changed, but in late 2009/early 2010 the Sazerac Company reproduced Marion Legendre’s original 1934 recipe — deeper, richer and with a broader, more complex herbal base.

You are, of course, welcome to use actual absinthe as well, but then if you used absinthe or pastis it wouldn’t be Brandy & Herbsaint Milk Punch, would it? (Well, all you’d have to do is change the name, but still.)

This punch is terrific when the weather starts to turn crisp in autumn and for the holiday season as well, but New Orleanians are fond of milk punches year-round. This would be great at breakfast or brunch, for a pre-dessert nog, or just for a party. Here’s the version to serve in The Flowing Bowl:

Brandy & Herbsaint Milk Punch

2 quarts cold milk
3 cups brandy
1/2 cup Herbsaint
1/2 cup superfine sugar

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and stir to combine. Add more sugar or brandy to taste. Chill. Pour into a large punch bowl with a large block of ice and serve cold, topped with freshly grated nutmeg.

Serves 16-20.

… and if you’re only making one or two, the single-serving version:

1-1/2 ounces brandy or bourbon
1/4 ounce Herbsaint (especially Herbsaint Original)
1/4 ounce simple syrup
4 ounces whole milk or half-and-half

Shake with ice and strain into a punch cup, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.


2 Responses to “Brandy & Herbsaint Milk Punch”

  1. Shari Minton said:

    Oct 29, 10 at 12:13 pm

    Oh dear. Somehow you’ve managed to transport me back to my teen years in New Orleans at Halloween…my favorite holiday…

  2. Shari Minton said:

    Oct 29, 10 at 12:13 pm