Thursday, April 16, 2009

hibiscus white rum milk punch

Hibiscus Tea-Infused White Rum
Lime Zest
Lime Juice

Made in advance and bottled. Served chilled in a cocktail glass. See the recipe below for the California Milk Punch for an idea of how this recipe was prepared. (EDIT: see below for a recipe for this punch, perhaps not this batch, as published in!)

Last night at Drink, I spoke with Ben Sandrof about his Jerry Thomas-style milk punches he has been making. Unlike some old fashioned milk punches which are booze, milk, sugar, and some grated nutmeg, his recipes are of the style where the milk is heated and mixed with lemon or lime juice to precipitate the curd. The curd is removed and what is left is an interesting mouthfeel of the whey. The effect is more subtle and slightly different than that of gum arabic or egg white. Also, the end result is clarified and not the least bit cloudy.

Ben gave me samples of three of the punches and I believe that he had a fourth one that he did not bring out. One was Jerry's California Milk Punch (see recipe below) which was very tasty but reminded me a lot of the Cold Ruby Punch I had made about two weeks prior due to the Batavia Arrack and muddled pineapple flavors. The second one was a Scotch-St. Germain milk punch which was rather flavorful but way too sweet for my palate. The last milk punch was a hibiscus-white rum recipe which I enjoyed enough that I chose it for a full-sized serving. The hibiscus flower came through both on the nose and in the taste, and the floral notes in the punch were slightly reminiscent of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. The clove was definitely detectable in the slightly bitter swallow. This is not to say that the punch was bitter over all -- far from it with the sugar tipping the recipe to a somewhat sweet balance. My guess is that the bitter notes came from the alcohol extraction of the tea itself. The punch had just enough complexity to make savoring it slowly worthwhile and had plenty of sweetness and richness from the sugar and whey to make it rather easy to drink.
California Milk Punch (For Bottling)
Take the juice of four lemons.
The rind of two lemons.
1/2 pound of white sugar, dissolved in sufficient hot water.
1 pineapple, peeled, sliced and pounded.
6 cloves.
20 coriander seeds.
1 small stick of cinnamon.
1 pint of brandy.
1 pint of Jamaica rum.
1 gill of Batavia Arrack.
1 cup of strong green tea.
1 quart of boiling water.
1 quart of hot milk.
Put all the materials in a clean demijohn, the boiling water to be added last; cork this down to prevent evaporation, and allow the ingredients to steep for at least six hours; then add the hot milk and the juice of two more lemons; mix, and filter through a jelly-bag; and when the punch has passed bright, put it away in tight-corked bottles. This punch is intended to be iced for drinking.

Recipe from Jerry Thomas' Bartender's Guide (1862).

POSTNOTE: I found an article on written by Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston wrote that gives one version of Drink's punch:
Rum-hibiscus milk punch
1 bottle (750 mL) white rum
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tbsp dried hibiscus leaves
2 cup simple syrup (1:1)
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 cup fresh whole milk (preferably unpasteurized)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. Have on hand a 1-gallon container and 2 pitchers (1 should be glass).
2. In a large glass or ceramic bowl, combine the rum and orange and lemon rinds. Cover tightly and set aside to infuse for 48 hours. Add hibiscus and infuse for 2 hours more.
3. Strain the rum mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into a 1-gallon container. Add the simple syrup and stir well. Stir in the lime juice.
4. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to 180 degrees. Pour the hot milk into the rum mixture. Add the cinnamon and clove. Stir and set aside for 30 minutes or until the mixture curdles.
5. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a pitcher (glass isn't necessary right now). Pour the milk mixture through the strainer. When the flow of liquid has slowed to a drip, place strainer into a glass pitcher and slowly pour contents of first pitcher into the strainer. (Do not remove curd after first straining; it forms a natural filter.) Rate of flow from strainer should be slow and steady, and resulting liquid should be clear.
6. Store punch in a corked bottle or covered container and refrigerate for up to 8 weeks. Serve cold in small, stemmed glasses, such as sherry glasses. Adapted from Drink.

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