Alright, I thought I'd put the milk punches to rest. For at least a week or so. But when I was mentioning to a co-worker the havoc that ensued when I started messing with the filtering of a previous punch, he recommended the Coffee Milk Punch also served at Drink. I looked it up and the ingredients (coffee, Benedictine, maraschino, rum...) had an instant, if curious, appeal.
On an unrelated note, at least for the moment, Maine's Maple Sunday has become something of a tradition around our house. We have a favorite sugar shack that we go to, a little off the beaten path, where we get to walk around the woods, past horses, chickens, llamas and hang around a sugar shack enjoying ice cream (with maple syrup), beans, biscuits and sometimes lamb stew. It's a real treat which we associate with the coming spring and we seem to always end up with more than enough maple syrup to last us a year.
Maple Sunday is this weekend and since we have some friends joining us, with whom we will hang out and snack further after the jaunt in the woods, a batch of punch seemed in order. Well then, since it will be early afternoon, a cup of coffee isn't entirely out of order (is it ever?). I made a small batch in advance, followed the directions closely this time and was rewarded with a clear and tasty punch.
I used a large fine strainer and while the directions here suggest pouring it through the filter and into the punch bowl to chill, I took the additional steps, outlined in the Rum Hibiscus Milk Punch (linked above), of moving the filter over a separate container once the flow became clear and pouring the previously filtered, slightly cloudy, initial liquid back into the strainer. The clarity is better on this batch than the hibiscus one which I attribute to the strainer - this one was larger and the stream of filtered liquid was definitely clear when I moved it.
The smell of coffee in the aroma is intense. It's influence on the flavor is undeniable as well. I used a dark roast thinking that the nuances of something lighter might not be able to keep up with the other ingredients. I'm not so sure now though - the coffee isn't taking a backseat here. After the char and smoke of the coffee comes a range of pleasant and intriguing flavors. The Benedictine/maraschino combination brings some herbal qualities and a smooth texture which ties in well to the softening effect of the filtered milk. Maraschino has a slightly funky quality which I don't mind and tried to play up by using Myers's white for the rum. Along with the lemon juice, the rum helps lighten the weightier aspects of the other ingredients. It's not too sweet but there's a richness to it which, along with the coffee makes me want to try this as an after dinner drink as well.
Coffee Milk Punch - David Wondrich, John Gerstsen, Misty Kalkofen
1/2 cup Coffee (ground for French press) - (2 oz)*
64 oz Whole Milk - (16 oz)
1 cup Sugar - (2 oz)
8 oz Lemon Juice - (2 oz )
2 x 750 ml bottles White Rum - (12.5 oz)
500 ml Benedictine - (4 oz)
375 ml Maraschino - (3 oz)
1 1/2 tsp grated Nutmeg - (a little bit)
Stir coffee with milk and refrigerate for 24 hours. Pour through fine strainer into saucepan and warm over medium heat.
In a large bowl stir sugar with lemon juice to dissolve. Add rum, Benedictine, maraschino and nutmeg. Stir. Add the warm milk, pour through a fine strainer and refrigerate to chill**. Serve with ice.
*Quantities in parentheses reflect batch size divided by four with some minor rounding of fractions. This scaled-down version yielded about a 750 ml bottle's worth of punch. I think. I didn't measure so I'm not 100% there but it was close. This punch is delicious but it's heavy enough that a cup or two should do.
**As mentioned above, if you move the fine strainer over another container when the filtered stream becomes clear the overall clarity of the punch will be improved significantly. Just take the first bit that wasn't clear and pour it back through the strainer.