The BEST New Orleans Milk Punch you have EVER tasted (cocktail hour for Fat Tuesday Cont.)

February 21, 2012

I love New Orleans. The first time I was there in 1991 it was springtime.  The trees were thickly set with blossoms, and the smell of flowers, beignets and chicory coffee permeated the air all around the city. 

The scent of steaming hot chicory French coffee laced with nutmeg and thick frothy cream do much for my memories. The elusive aroma of Bourbon woven with Absinthe  does this as well. But to combine them, hot milk, coffee, Caribbean spices and an ancient punch recipe?


In the morning — this may mean anytime before breakfast — New Orleaneans have certain gentile customs. One of these rituals surrounds a cocktail — not very surprising for a cocktail to be exemplified — but not your ordinary cocktail.

Sure, it fits in a glass or mug, and is as intoxicating as a fragrant cherry tree in a Japanese Zen garden, but where this drink gains on the competition is the time of day that it’s enjoyed.

You drink it in the morning.  Morning is my favorite time to enjoy a cocktail. 

This drink is a punch, which by definition is anything that carries a fruit juice in the base.  The Orange Bitters seem to work here. 

New Orleans-Style Milk Punch

Adapted from the classic recipe by Warren Bobrow, this breakfast punch makes going back to sleep easier when down in New Orleans.

  1. Pre-heat mug with boiling hot water.
  2. Combine coffee, bourbon and Absinthe in a shaker of ice.
  3. Add brown sugar syrup to taste, pour hot water out of mug. Add coffee/bourbon mixture.
  4. Top with foamed milk (or half and half) and add exactly three drops of the orange bitters. Add the butter then a sprinkle of fleur du sel.
  5. Scrape some fresh nutmeg over the top. Sip carefully and the rest of the day should be pleasantly blurry.