I thought you might enjoy this recipe for a St. Patrick’s Day beverage. Scáiltín, or Milk Punch, is a hot drink made with milk, Irish whiskey and spices. It has been enjoyed in Ireland since the Middle Ages. I can just see myself, curled up next to the fire with a good book and a big mug of the stuff. Perhaps I can see this so clearly because that is exactly what happened on last night’s snowy eve! Yup, the weather folks were right. It sure did snow yesterday and everything was closed down. It was that really heavy, wet snow that had a lot of rain mixed in. It is mostly gone now around here, though I understand that folks out closer to the mountains got a whole lot more of the stuff. It was an absolutely perfect day to make up a batch of this punch.
Now let me explain, it wasn’t like I was swanning about the house all day yesterday sipping big mugs of Scáiltín and occasionally pausing to snap a photo or two of the blessed concoction. Well, I might have taken a nip of two from the mugs….but it was strictly for research purposes. I certainly wouldn’t want to blog about something that I didn’t think tasted delicious. And in my defense, it was a snow day. Yes, my husband and I both work from home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t join in with the spirit of a snow day. And I definitely was not “swanning about” in the least. But this is about Scáiltín, not me. So let me tell you this silky smooth, spicy cuppa really does pack a punch and will warm you head to toes. I can see why it was thought to be medicinal. Great for a nightcap or with some cookies in the afternoon or as a remedy for a damp, bone-chilling, slush shoveling day.
Interestingly enough, whilst I was researching Scáiltín, I came across a recipe for New Orleans Milk Punch which is thought to have its origins from Irish Scáiltin, but has evolved appropriately to be imbibed in steamy Louisiana. This beverage is served cold, either over ice or in a “slushy” state. Well, I was very excited to see this. I mean it is a wee bit cold in the winter months in Virginia, we did have a slush storm yesterday, but it is muggy, hot and humid for the majority of the time. So, iced drinks are really popular. And everyone knows, Americans LOVE ice, and lots of it. Literally can’t get enough of the stuff. If we’re getting a cocktail, fill that glass up with ice. Our beer, we want it icy cold and in a chilled mug. We even ice down our tea (gasp, horror). I can assure you, if I lived in New Orleans, one of the muggiest places going, I would drink my Milk Punch in milkshake form!
Now a New Orleans Milk Punch is a bit different from Scáiltín, and not only in temperature. Sure there is milk, but the alcohol added can differ. I found recipes which called for Bourbon, other whiskies or Brandy, though it seems that Brandy is preferred in the Big Easy. Powdered sugar is the sweetener rather than honey and vanilla extract was added to the mix. Although I didn’t see a recipe which called for cinnamon or ginger, nutmeg did make the cut. How exciting! Apparently, New Orleans Milk Punch is often enjoyed at brunch as a sort of “hair of the dog”. I can just see myself sipping it pool side, under a large shady umbrella I assure you. I just couldn’t resist giving you the recipes for both versions and that way you’ll be set with an appropriate beverage no matter how close to the equator you are when you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Sláinte! (Irish for “to your health”).
Recipe from: The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook
Yield: 2 mugs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I really like cinnamon and used 1/4 tsp.)
- 2 pats of irish butter (optional)
- freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish
Pour the milk and whiskey into a small saucepan and stir in the honey, ginger and cinnamon.
Heat over low heat, without letting the mixture boil, a whisking briskly to create a froth.
Pour into two warm mugs, top with a pat of butter and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.
New Orleans Milk Punch
recipe from: Epicurious
yield: 4 cups
- 1 cup brandy, (or Bourbon, or other Whiskey )
- 3 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 gratings fresh nutmeg
- Handful of ice cubes
- Crushed ice in 4 glasses
Put the brandy (bourbon or other whiskey), milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and ice cubes into a blender and blend for 20 seconds.
Strain into glasses of crushed ice, garnish with extra nutmeg gratings and serve.