• Yield: Makes about 4 cups

This recipe is based off of the oldest known written recipe for milk punch (which I found in cocktail historian David Wondrich’s book Punch). The original features a simple combination of brandy, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and water and is clarified with scalded milk. My adaptations to Mary’s original recipe are few: I use cold milk in place of hot, add orange peel and orange juice to the lemon for a more complex citrus flavor, and scale it down to make one quart (the original makes about twelve 750-milliliter bottles). The finished drink is bright and clean with limoncello-like lemon (and orange) intensity, and the whey that remains after clarification provides velvety body. 

Cook's Note: We’ve tested this recipe using both gram measurements and traditional U.S. volume and weight measurements, so you get to pick the one that works best for you.

[Ed. note: click here to learn more about the history and process of making milk punch from America's Test Kitchen's Dan Souza. Also see Black Tea-Port Milk Punch.]

Ingredients (grams):

  • 454g brandy

  • 13g lemon zest strips (from 1 lemon)

  • 13g orange zest strips (from 1 orange)

  • 227g whole milk

  • 454g water

  • 113g sugar

  • 75g lemon juice

  • 60g orange juice

Ingredients (traditional):

  • 2 cups brandy

  • 1/2 ounce lemon zest strips (from 1 lemon)

  • 1/2 ounce orange zest strips (from 1 orange)

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (4 ounces) sugar

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 table spoon (4 ounces) lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup orange juice


  1. Combine brandy, lemon zest strips, and orange zest strips in lidded container and let sit at room temperature for at least 18 hours or up to 2 days. Discard zest strips.

  2. Place milk in 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large pitcher; set aside. In large liquid measuring cup or large bowl, whisk infused brandy, water, sugar, lemon juice, and orange juice until sugar dissolves.

  3. Pour brandy mixture into milk. Gently stir curds with small spoon. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

  4. Line fine-mesh strainer with coffee filter and set over large measuring cup or bowl. Gently pour brandy-milk mixture into coffee filter and let drain. Drain strained punch mixture through curds in coffee filter one more time. Discard curds and coffee filter. Transfer clarified punch to lidded glass container and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, pour 1/4 cup to 3/8 cup chilled punch into small glass.

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