“Milk punch” on a winter cocktail menu conjures images of a creamy white drink with a sprinkling of nutmeg on top. Merchant’s version of this classic drink, however, is a delightful surprise. The Moloko Plus, created by bartender Derek Jarvi, is a clarified milk punch. It’s a clear drink, served over ice in a glass milk bottle with a wide strip of lemon peel and a red and white straw.
The Moloko Plus punch is an English preparation that dates back at least three centuries. Clarified milk punch has a milk base but becomes clear when the curdled milk (it curdles when the dairy meets the acid in the other ingredients) is removed before serving.
Making the punch is a three-day process in which milk is added and removed, and fruit (including pineapple) macerates in baking spices, lemon oleo saccharum (a mix of citrus oil and sugar) and alcohol. That’s a combination of Plantation Jamaican and El Dorado 8-Year rums, Fighting Cock bourbon and Ansac cognac. The result is bright and citrusy, yet creamy, a refreshing drink that laughs in winter’s face.