Blac Tea-Port Milk Punch
I came across this fascinating article on Cook's Science, the online sister magazine to Cook's Illustrated, on using milk to breate crystal clear punch drinks. As described, clarified milk punches are neither milky nor punchy. The milk is curdled with a citrus, and in doing so pulls several of the stronger more tannic compounds out of the mixture, which is then strained to remove the curds and leave behind a smoother clearer drink. Be careful though! This particular recipe still packs a hefty alcoholic wallop, even if it tasted smooth and clean.
1 cup whole milk
2 cups brewed black tea
⅔ cup Batavia Arrack
⅔ cup ruby port
⅓ cup plus 4 teaspoons (3 ounces) sugar
⅓ cup lemon juice
Place milk in 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large pitcher; set aside. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or large bowl, whisk tea, Batavia Arrack, port, sugar, and lemon juice until sugar dissolves.
Pour tea mixture into milk. Gently stir curds with small spoon. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Line fine-mesh strainer with coffee filter and set over large measuring cup or bowl. Gently pour tea-milk mixture into coffee filter and let drain. Drain strained punch mixture through curds in coffee filter one more time. Discard curds and coffee filter. Transfer clarified punch to lidded glass container and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, pour ¼ cup to 3/8 cup chilled punch into small glass.
- As Cook's Science notes, it actually does matter if you pour the milk into the tea or the tea into the milk. Adding the tea to the milk helps curds form more evenly, resulting in a cleaner smoother finished product.
- We ended up straining ours through layers of paper towels. The curds are very fine, and we found our coffee filters clogging after just a little while. We settled on a system where we squeezed the remnants from the old filter into a new one. You can also, with a large enough fine mesh strainer, set the whole mishegas to strain for a while.