This holiday season, while most people relaxed and enjoyed themselves, I was hard at work perfecting what will years from now be looked back on as the perfect Christmas drink repertoire. The way I see it, every self-respecting drinker needs five go-to libations to get them through the five drinking stages of Christmas: (1) pre-Christmas; (2) Christmas Eve Dinner; (3) Christmas Eve After-Dinner; (4) Christmas Morning; (5) Christmas After-Dinner. Serve a little wine with Christmas dinner and this collection of seasonal drinks will guide you smoothly through next year’s “most wonderful time of the year.” I’ve already discussed the perfect pre-Christmas drink, Rye Egg Nog, the Christmas Eve Pomegranate Bourbon Cocktail, and the Christmas Eve After-Dinner Tom & Jerry, so let’s turn to a nutty and sweet milk punch that is a nice complement to any leisurely morning . . .
Stage 4: Christmas Morning – Bourbon Pecan Milk Punch
Some people might tell you it’s not appropriate to have a drink with breakfast. Those people have never tried this nutty and creamy low alcohol sipper. For our first Christmas together since moving to Washington D.C., this Southern tinged punch seemed quite appropriate.
Bourbon Pecan Milk Punch (via myrecipes.com) (makes 3 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup cane syrup
1 tbsp cream of coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup bourbon
1. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring once. Cool 10 minutes.
2. Process pecans, syrup, cream of coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, and kosher salt in a food processor 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth. With processor running, pour water through food chute.
3. Press mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, using back of spoon. Discard solids. Cover and chill 3 to 24 hours.
4. Stir in bourbon and milk just before serving. Serve over ice. Makes 3 cups of punch.
Delicious. The toasted pecans and cream of coconut give this drink a subtle nutty sweetness, which plays off of the caramel notes of the bourbon. The texture is creamy but not terribly thick, especially if you take the time to properly strain the excess processed materials through a fine mesh strainer (side note: eating spoonfuls of the excess mixture is recommended, if not mandatory). Enjoy!
Watch for the final installment of this series – Hot Coffee Grog – coming soon!