Where to find it: Make Room for Truman, Park Ridge, Ill.
Creator: Mitchie Kanda, field training and beverage manager
Ingredients: Appleton Reserve Rum, Hennessy, Licor 43, cinnamon, clove, vanilla bean, clarified milk, black tea
Milk punch, a cocktail made with clarified milk, was popular about 150 years ago, said Mitchie Kanda, field training and beverage manager for Make Room for Truman, a one-off owned by Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc.
The cocktail, which takes about 48 hours to make, is back with support from the slow-food movement and the restaurant’s emphasis on food cooked the way Grandma did, taking her time. “It’s a different and unique drink, and there’s so much history behind it,” she said.
The process starts with the mixing of spirits with the vanilla bean, and spices along with the rinds of some citrus fruits muddled with sugar. That sits overnight to infuse the flavors, she said.
The tea is added and then the milk is heated and slowly poured in. The milk curdles, allowing Kanda to skim off the milk solids “and all the other fun stuff we put in,” using a fine cheesecloth or sometimes a double coffee filter. “Forty-eight hours later you have this clear drink with the silky texture of drinking whole milk,” she said. The cocktail is served over one large piece of ice and garnished with freshly grated nutmeg.
“It’s been on the menu about a year and it does great,” Kanda said. “We have to rely on bartenders and servers to really explain it, so we took a lot of time training.”
Once guests try it, however, they tend to come back for more. “We get a lot of reorders.”