Bourbon Milk Punch


Well, it seems Spring is going to take its sweet time arriving this year.  And I’m okay with that. We are still undecided if we are going to start a garden.  The truth is, when your day job is growing and harvesting plants, sometimes the last thing you want to do is take care of more plants at home.  (My severely malnourished and wilting houseplants will attest to this).

Plus, I know myself too well—gardening gives me anxiety.  That last year in California, Brian and I grew most of what we ate on a 1/2-acre plot behind my house.  Each morning, while sipping tea and watching the sun come over the hills, my eyes would drift over the garden.  The plants that needed my attention weighed on me.  I would try to blur my eyes away from all the tomatoes that needed picking and canning.  The zucchini swelling an inch every few hours—yeesh, please slow down!  The basil that needed to be whirred in a food processor with olive oil before even more of those purple flowers popped out.  The tomatillos, well, hell, how are you supposed to deal with those?  (I tried freezing and it worked ok, but it did steal some of their zing).  Seeing all the excess produce just reminded me daily of how much I needed to do.

I determined that 3 canning sessions is about all I have in me.  The kitchen gets hot, your fingers get burnt, and scraping tomato skins out of my white sink is less than pleasant.  I think I might take my grandma’s stance and embrace store-bought.


Anyway, we need some more time to think about it.  We are only two people, and we would be served well by a few tomato plants and one squash plant.  But, if you’re going to grow some, you may as well grow many and save the excess.

Speaking of excess, a few weeks back, the weatherman kept threatening snow.  Each time he did so, I rushed to the store to buy milk and eggs.  You too?  I ended up with a few too many half-gallons of milk in our fridge, and so I put them to use the best way I knew how:  milk punch.

Milk punch spiked with Bourbon is a great New Orleans invention.  It’s light, spicy and uplifting.  If you have the patience, freeze it for a few hours before serving.  Break up the iciness with an iced tea spoon and enjoy.

This unique drink deserves a spot in your party repertoire.  Classic milk punch is scented with vanilla and nutmeg.  It’s lovely, but the ginger lover in me wanted a bright, spicy lemon version.



Bourbon Milk Punch
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes 2 servings.
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 strip of lemon rind (pith removed)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons Bourbon
  1. In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients except vanilla and Bourbon. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat and stir a few times.
  2. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and Bourbon. Taste and see if you want to add more Bourbon.
  4. Strain the mixture into two serving glasses and chill before serving.



  1. says

    Funnily enough, I’ve just been having exactly the same conversation with my other half! We’re moving to a place with a balcony so I’m trying to work out if it’s worth planting various vegetables or if I’m just going to kill them. I’m still considering my options…

    Love the idea of this milk punch with that kick of booze. A delicious drink!

  2. says

    Ooooh – love all of that ginger! I had to give up on a garden when I moved to my loft, but can tell you that it’s extra fun to go help friends tend theirs if you decide to forego this year! :)

  3. says

    I’m totally on the other side of the planting dilemma! Trapped in a tiny, poorly-lit apartment and craving some direct sun for a basil plant. There must be a half way for us, right?
    Bourbon milk punch sounds incredible. Never tried it, but am already 100% confident that this will be love at first sip.

  4. says

    One time, I tried having a garden but it turns out that I have a black thumb. ALSO…it’s a lot of work to GROW plants, pick plants, then turn plants into food.

    I only have enough energy for one of those steps, and I think you know which one it is.

    Also, I need this punch in my life. Can it be breakfast since there is milk in it?

  5. says

    I have never had milk punch, but I do love bourbon, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this was right up our alley. For some reason I always find myself over-buying milk. I only drink a little milk and mainly almond milk, and I keep forgetting that Joe doesn’t drink much milk, either, leaving us with a ton of milk leftover each week.

    P.S. – We just got our two raised beds ready for gardening. But I have no idea what I’m doing. I may need to pick your brain come summer.

  6. says

    #1 LOVE this recipe idea. Then again, I love bourbon. :) This makes me want to spike my next chai latte with some bourbon!

    #2 I’m so with you on gardening. I love the *idea* of a huge garden, but when it comes to the weeding, watering, pest control, etc. I just don’t wanna do it. And like you, we’re a house of two so what do you do with all that stuff? That’s why I container garden. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, even strawberries! Just 1 or 2 of each plant, enough to grow my favorites without having an over abundance of produce, and best of all, practically no weeding! There is a good bit of watering mid-summer, but only if we don’t get rain & it only takes a few minutes.

  7. says

    There’s a reason no one in my family cans. My mom and I make freezer jam every year, but that’s as close as we come. I would just end up leaving the excess produce on neighbors’ doorsteps and run away. “Who, me? No, I certainly would never dump 15 pounds of zucchini on your front porch, ding-dong-ditch style…”

  8. says

    Mmmmmm Bourbon!!! I have never ever heard of this drink before. And it makes me sad. I wish I had heard of it earlier so I could have been drinking it more often! I am definitely making one of these this weekend. I am toying with the idea of a small garden too. Especially since my parents, who have a huge garden from which I “steal” all my summer produce, are talking about scaling back this year. It is hard work I don’t know if I am up for.

  9. says

    Delish! This sounds so amazing…only this year have we gotten into the world of milk punches, and we truly love them. My current fav. is made with coconut milk, a banana, orange juice, vanilla, and rum. So tropical and refreshing!

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