As she rattled off the list of options, my ears perked at the mention of a Brandy Milk Punch.
I'd never had a brandy milk punch, though the name had certainly passed through the pages of stories I've read, and it always sounded like something I would like.
Except in New Orleans, where the line between past and present is beautifully fuzzy, at best.
Everywhere we went, I spotted whole nutmeg seeds nestled comfortably between the lemon wedges, olives, and maraschino cherries. A carton of milk tucked in the fridge below the bar. And on the streets, condensation dripped off milky, brimming plastic cups held tight by tourists and locals alike.
I trusted my gut and ordered it, and then...
I fell in love!
At Napoleon House, they're made with bourbon, which is good, but I prefer the grapes. At Stanley, they're made with brandy, and served both on the rocks, and as a more decadent milkshake. We didn't get to try it, but I heard that the one at Commander's Palace can't be beat.
Like just about everything in New Orleans, there seemed to be a dozen right answers. Some specified half & half. Others, heavy cream. For my version, I stuck with good, whole milk, with a generous splash of cream.
A perfect sip no matter the season, hour, or venue.
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New Orleans Brandy Milk Punch Recipe
Serves 2. Multiply as necessary.
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups very cold whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional; replace with additional milk if desired)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar (plus more to taste)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Scant pinch of kosher salt
Whole or ground nutmeg
In a pitcher, combine the brandy, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir vigorously until combined and frothy. Taste to adjust sweetness.
Fill two glasses with ice cubes and divide milk punch into the glasses. Top each with a generous grating or sprinkle of nutmeg, and serve immediately.