It may sound odd, but trust us, this old fashioned milk punch recipe, made with gin, is actually one of the most delicious ways you can enjoy gin.
The G&T is not the most traditional gin serve. That might seem outrageous, even scandalous, but it's true.
The cries of “How could you say such a thing? The G&T is the classic gin drink!” are audible from here. We get it, the gin and tonic is a classic. We just want you to hear us out.
The G&T is a classic that's been the go-to drink for generations of gin lovers, and whatever changes are being made to it, it’s a drink that’s endured a few centuries of use and enjoyment.
A classic? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. That said, it’s not one of the original ways gin was drunk.
When gin was first made it was a cheap, British-made spirit. A substitution for French spirits, encouraged by the King and the Government. It was made quickly and easily, and rarely with high-quality ingredients. Gin, in its infancy, was a rough and fiery spirit. It lacked finesse.
To make it more palatable, whilst still enjoying its intoxicating effects, it would be drunk at room temperature with just a splash of water to soften it, mixed with ale and spices (this was known as Purl) and in punches.
Both the quality of spirits and beer cocktails have improved massively but many punch recipes have remained the same. This isn’t because punch is awaiting a revival where it’ll be adapted and improved but because the existing recipes are already delicious, exciting and allow for a lot of experimentation.
Punches began as a way to improve harsh tasting spirits and were usually made by mixing the spirit of choice with sugar and spices as well as relatively easy-to-access ingredients like milk, water and tea. Punches grew in popularity when gin was all but banned in the mid 18th century. There was a loophole that made it legal for gin to be sold if it was first made into a punch. Punch houses nearly instantly sprung up nationwide, each boasting the uniqueness of their own, special, house punch.
A commonly made punch that was soft and creamy, whilst still maintaining the sharpness of the base gin and a healthy splash of fruity citrus, was Milk Punch. Not a milky white drink with gin added and mixed in but a crystal clear, clarified milk punch. Spiced, creamy and unmistakably gin.
This is a recipe that has withstood the test of time, and while getting there isn’t the prettiest of journeys, it’s very much worthwhile.
1. Combine all the ingredients, except the milk, in a jug and give them a good stir.
2. Add the milk and give it another quick stir. At this point the milk should start to curdle. DON'T PANIC! We want the milk to curdle and the milk solids to separate. Wait until the solids have all risen to the top.
3. Filter the mixture through a coffee filter. For authenticity you could use muslin but the finer the filter, the better.
4. Throw away the milk solids and serve the clarified spirit mixture in a copa glass with ice and your choice of garnish. An orange slice would work well, or some sweeties! Yes, sweeties. We serve ours with milk bottles.
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For National Curry Week we wanted to look at pairing curry with gin cocktails, so we visited Indian Street Food bar Bundobust, in Leeds, to see how it’s done.
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If you are a bit of gin lover or interested in finding a gin that you really like then the Gin Festival would be a perfect event for you.