Milk punch, popular in Ben Franklin’s day, has been rediscovered by mad scientist-mixologists who geek out on a recipe that, through the miracle of chemistry, produces silky, opulent cocktails without a trace of cloudiness or color. Case in point: Mike Liberatore’s buttered rum punch at The Gladly, an elegant, crystal-clear elixir you’d never guess involves brown butter and buttermilk. Served in a lowball glass with a sprig of mint, it slowly opens up to exude the warm, heady aroma of baking spices.
If you’re brave enough to tackle this labor-intensive project at home, you’ll be rewarded with a 10-cocktail batch of deliciousness that keeps indefinitely in the fridge.
To begin, brown a half-stick of unsalted butter over medium heat and add it to a bowl containing 750 ml. (a standard bottle) of rum.* Put the bowl in the freezer overnight, then strain the mixture, combining the rum with 6 oz. banana liqueur, 13 oz. Lillet Blanc, 6 oz. fresh lime juice and 2 oz. simple syrup. Set aside. Pour 20 oz. of buttermilk into a large container, then add the rum mixture to the buttermilk (not the buttermilk to the rum) and let it sit for 24 hours. Next, pour the punch through a large, fine strainer lined with cheesecloth (a clean dishcloth or pillowcase will work in a pinch) to catch the curds. Repeat this process with clean containers until the mixture becomes clear. To serve, pour 3 oz. of the punch into a mixing glass with ice and stir for 20 rotations. Serve over fresh ice with mint.
*The Gladly uses grassy rhum agricole, made with sugar cane, not molasses.
2201 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix