Milk punches are, in a word, rare. They're hard to find out at bars, harder to make, and harder still to make well.
Milk punch is one of the oldest cocktails - they date back at least 300 years ago. Local O.G. Philly influencer Benjamin Franklin even had a recipe for milk punch, and Dock Street Cannery's bar manager Danny Godinez has damn near perfected it.
Godinez makes Dock Street Cannery's Milk Punch ($8) with a base of Old Fashioned Saison that has been infused with Chai spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and orange zest for at least 24 hours. Fresh squeezed lemon juice is then added along with brown sugar simple syrup for sweetness. The base is fortified with a dark aged rum and Applejack.
"Ok, but where's the milk?" you are probably wondering.
In case you hadn't realized yet, this cocktail isn't a quickie.
Most milk punches, save for the traditional, New Orleans-style ones, are not milky at all, at least not in appearance, although the silky mouthfeel gives away its main ingredient - clarified milk. In this case, the milk is first boiled, and then shocked by the addition of the syrupy, alchohol-laden punch. The rest is science. The acid in the lemon juice makes the milk instantly curdle, and Godinez lets his version sit for a couple days before skimming away the large clusters or "pods," as he describes them, of curdled milk which by now have also absorbed any bitterness from the citrus and have also done the courtesy of mellowing out any underlying astringent alcohol flavors, leaving only sweet, smooth goodness.
And the taste? Pure refreshment.