This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

Here’s how to make milk punch, a brandy cocktail made with milk and sugar! It’s cold and creamy, and works for brunch or evening.

Milk punch
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Here’s a drink that surprised us with its complex, creamy flavor: Milk Punch! This tasty drink is one of the oldest cocktails there is, featuring brandy, bourbon, milk and sugar. It’s a popular brunch drink in New Orleans and in the American South. And the concept sounds baffling until you try it. Then you realize the genius of it: the creamy, cool milk against the spice of the brandy and the nuance of vanilla extract. From first sip, we were sold. Here’s how to make this intriguing and satisfying historic drink.

What is milk punch?

Milk punch is a drink made with brandy or bourbon, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Get this: the drink was first written down in 1688 in Scotland! How’s that for history? The first mention in a cookbook was in 1711. Benjamin Franklin even recorded a version of it in 1763. So it’s got quite the history.

A popular type of milk punch you’ve probably heard of? Eggnog! But to us, milk punch is exponentially tastier, at least in our book. The ingredients you’ll need for milk punch are:

  • Whole milk
  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Brandy
  • Simple syrup
  • Vanilla
  • Grated nutmeg, for the garnish
Milk punch

Creamy vs clarified milk punch

There are two ways to serve milk punch: creamy and clarified. Here’s the difference:

  • Creamy milk punch is milky and creamy, the type you’ll likely get if you order it at brunch in a New Orleans restaurant. (This is what you’ll find in the recipe below.)
  • Clarified milk punch means that the mixture is heated, which makes the dairy curdle. Then the milk solids are strained out, leaving behind a clear liquid. So the clarified version actually looks crystal clear!

How to make milk punch (basic steps)

You might think milk punch would be a hot drink, served in a big punch bowl in the winter. But you make it like any shaken cocktail! Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake, and strain! Here’s what to do:

  1. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker: milk, bourbon, brandy, simple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add ice and shake! (Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Use a mason jar!)
  2. Strain into a glass. Strain the drink into a low-ball glass. If you’d like, you can use a round tumbler like the one shown.
  3. Garnish: The garnish is important here! Grate on a little nutmeg for the perfect spiced touch.
How to make milk punch

Add flair with star anise

Want to add the perfect flair to the garnish for milk punch? Add star anise! Star anise is a unique star-shaped spice. It’s native to China and Vietnam, and you may have seen it in blends of cider mulling spices. It’s available at most grocery stores, and if you can’t find it, you can also buy star anise online.

More brandy drinks

Love brandy? Here are a few more brandy drinks to use up a bottle:

  • Wisconsin Old Fashioned This state’s variation on the classic cocktail is made with brandy and has some unique twists.
  • Classic Sidecar Cocktail Here’s how to make one of the best classic cocktails of all time: the Sidecar! This sour is the perfect balance of Cognac, Cointreau and lemon.
  • Red Sangria or White Sangria Fruity sangria is made with brandy! Here’s how to make it, the Spanish way.
  • Vieux Carre The Vieux Carre cocktail is a 1930’s classic from New Orleans! It’s strong and sippable, featuring rye whiskey, Cognac and vermouth.
Milk punch

When to serve milk punch

Milk punch might seem like a wintery drink with the milk and spices, but you can serve it anytime! It’s on the menu in any season in New Orleans. It’s also common at brunch. Serve it as a:

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Milk punch

Perfect Milk Punch

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Here’s how to make milk punch, a brandy cocktail made with milk and sugar! It’s cold and creamy, and works for brunch or evening.


  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) whole milk
  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) bourbon whiskey
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) brandy
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • For the garnish: grated nutmeg, star anise (optional)


  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake it until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a lowball glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and if desired, star anise.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

More creamy cocktails

Love creamy cocktails? Here are a few more that might strike your fancy:

  • White Russian This creamy cocktail made with vodka and Kahlua hits the spot anytime and in any season. (Also try it sans cream as a Black Russian.)
  • Amaretto Coffee Whipped cream tops this spiked hot drink that’s cocktail, part dessert.
  • Piña Colada It takes only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes, and has incredible flavor.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment

  1. Anne says:

    I’m not going to lie, I did not make this as is. I’ve had a bottle of brandy in my cupboard for what seems like 30 years and I decided to try something with it for once besides making chicken livers.

    I use this recipe as a base for what I should do. I only had powdered sugar so I added that straight to the milk. I added vanilla and Brandy; it was still a little too strong for me so then I added the milk mix to coffee. Delicious.

    I’ve no doubts the recipe as written is delicious for a brunch or an after dinner indulgence.