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What: A simple blend of milk, brandy (or bourbon), sugar, and nutmeg over ice, the milk punch is a festive cocktail popular for midday drinking. (It’s made with milk, so seems appropriate for the early hours, don’t you think?) It likely has origins in the U.K., but it’s enjoyed a healthy rebirth in New Orleans for at least a century now, appearing in The Original Picayune Creole Cook Book’s first edition, in 1901. The milk punch is traditionally drunk around the Christmas holidays—and it is similar in taste to an eggnog, without the eggs—but it works anytime you’re in the mood for what’s basically a delicious boozy milkshake.
Where: A grand old landmark in the leafy Garden District, and a New Orleans culinary icon since 1880, Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Ave., map) comes highly recommended on EYW’s pages for many of its Creole classics. Dining inside the antebellum Victorian mansion, or outside in the courtyard—particularly during lunch or (jazz) brunch—provides the perfect occasion for a milk punch (and myriad other cocktails, we might add).
When: Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2pm and 6:30pm-10pm; Sat jazz brunch, 11:30am-12:30pm, and dinner, 6:30pm-10pm; Sun jazz brunch, 10:30am-1:30pm, and dinner, 6:30pm-10pm.
Order: Start with a milk punch ($7.50), with your choice of brandy or bourbon. Pleasantly light and frothy, it packs a nice little punch behind the milky sweetness. Pair it with lots of delicious food, like shrimp & tasso henican and whatever variation of eggs cochon de lait the restaurant’s offering for brunch that day.
Good to know: 90% of the ingredients used at Commander’s Palace comes from within 100 miles. This restaurant was locavore before it was a buzzword.
Alternatively: Another great, historic spot to indulge in a proper milk punch is Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon St., map), in the French Quarter, or try it at one of NOLA’s iconic drinking dens, like the Carousel Bar (214 Royale St., map) in the Quarter’s Hotel Monteleone, which features a slowly rotating carousel for a bar. Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House (144 Bourbon St., map) serves a frozen milk punch (with the addition of ice cream) for dessert that’s won “best milk punch” awards.
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