When I was a little girl, whenever I had trouble sleeping my mother would always make me a big mug of hot milk and honey. It was warm, sweet and comforting enough that within a matter of minutes I was happily curled up in bed with my stuffed animals nodding off to dreamland. Since it worked so well for me in my younger years, I’ve decided to follow in my mother’s footsteps and mix up the same concoction for my boys.
If you’re wondering why in the world I’m talking about the sleep-inducing warm milk on this classic-cocktail-Friday, don’t worry, there is a point to this trip down memory lane. You see, while I’ve been mixing up this simple sleep aid forever, in all my years, I’ve never, ever heard of Hot Milk Punch. I’m so happy I discovered it though because this punch is pretty much the aforementioned milk mixture with a little extra kick, which means it’s my new favorite hot cocktail.
But it’s not just my favorite, turns out this soothing punch has been the favorite of many high society men and women over the centuries. As with most cocktails that predate WWI, there is of course some discrepency as to who invented it or where it came from. Several cocktail historians believe the cocktail is strictly southern, originating in that classic drinking city, New Orleans. And while it is the brunch choice of many a New Orleans restaurant, they’re usually serving it up iced cold (more on that next week). The hot version goes much further back, all the way to medieval Ireland, where it was employed (like most hot cocktails of this age) for medicinal purposes.
And now we’ve come full circle. Turns out the natural (virgin) sleep aid that I’ve enjoyed my whole life, got its start not only with alcohol but as a soothing medicine. It’s the original sleeping pill. So, the next time you’re having a bout of insomnia, skip the sheep and whip up this cocktail for a guaranteed visit from the Sandman.
Hot Milk Punch
- 1 ounce brandy
- 1/2 ounce rum
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 1 cup hot milk
- dash of ground nutmeg
- Mix together the first three ingredients (through the powdered sugar) in a glass mug. Add the hot milk. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and enjoy… preferably in front of a nice warm fire.