How to Make Hot Milk Punch

Warm milk and booze? That's comfort.


  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • milk
  • nutmeg


  1. Stir rum, brandy, and sugar together well in a mixing tin.
  2. Pour into a glass mug and fill with very hot milk.
  3. Top with a few grains of nutmeg.

There's nothing like some hot milk to set you right. Lull you into serenity. Put you to sleep. Bring you back to a time when you didn't even know what alcohol was—until you remember that alcohol improves all beverages, so you pour yourself a healthy portion into your hot milk. (Assuming you're not physically repulsed by the phrase "hot milk.") Because that's what we all need right now: a cocktail that makes November a little less dreary and the transition into December a little less hectic. So make this Hot Milk Punch drink after a long day of holiday shopping, after a frustrating Q4 budget meeting, after watching The Irishman on Netflix (which is a marathon in and of itself). Here's an old Esquire recipe—we deemed it "liquid Ambien"—with dark rum and brandy.

A Little Background

Drinks with hot milk and dark alcohol have been a cure for wintertime ickyness for pretty much as long as people have been milking cows. Well, not quite that long, but nevertheless for a long time. In America, the colonialists drank them in the 13 originals, and from there they spread West. In 1949, Esquire's Handbook for Hosts liked a milk punch "as served on rolling days at sea and a rainy day in Colon, Panama." (What?) Of course, hot milk cocktails are not too popular these days. In 2019, if you're feeling sick you slurp some Nyquil syrup, and if you're feeling tired, too bad, so is everyone else. It's not like you'd order one in a bar. All the more reason to make this time-tested drink for yourself now.


If You Like This, Try These

There's a hot drink for everything. A Hot Toddy if you're feeling under the weather. An Irish Coffee if you want to warm your bones but stay alert. A Hot Buttered Rum to cure whatever winter bug just hit you. Mulled Wine to sustain an army or holiday party guests. And then there's a more basic Milk Punch, with rum, sugar, and milk, for when you don't have brandy in the bar cart.

Food styling by Sean Dooley
Prop styling by Emily Hirsch

FromEsquire US

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