Bourbon Milk Punch: A Southern Classic Infused With North East Character

September 12, 2016
Evan Harrison, co-owner and bar manager of State Park and Mamaleh’s, mixes New Orleans tradition with New England love and creates the perfect cocktail to pair with Ms. Hepburn's brownies.
Elisha Siegel

It’s hard to beat a warm, gooey brownie fresh from the oven. Pair that with a tall glass of two percent and you’ve got a combination so perfect you’ll overlook the grease on your fingers and roof of the mouth burns. Give me a crazy bendy straw and you’ve made a friend for life. But even perfection can be improved upon.

How? Easy. Add bourbon.

I went in search of a cocktail that would be as refreshing as milk and as boozy as, well, booze to pair with Ms. Hepburn’s brownie recipe. I reached out to Evan Harrison, co-owner and bar manager of State Park and Mamaleh’s Delicatessen in Kendall Square. Harrison got back to me the next day with an original creation called the Morning Glory Milk Punch.

Named for Hepburn’s 1933 film, the drink is a riff on a traditional New Orleans cocktail, the bourbon milk punch. Harrison takes the Southern classic and infuses it with some North East character. “I subbed out some of the ingredients to add a bit of New England flavor as well as some components to compliment the brownies themselves,” Harrison says.

What set’s Harrison’s drink apart from the traditional milk punch is the substitution of maple syrup for rum in the recipe. Harrison cautions home mixologists to take it slow with the addition of this ingredient. “There’s a lot of diversity among maple syrups. It’s wise to start with a little, perhaps a quarter ounce and adjust to taste.”

Harrison also adds a quarter ounce of Nux Alpina, an Austrian walnut liquor that will be especially tasty if you prefer nuts in your brownies. Harrison sees a lot of options to enjoy this cocktail and wouldn’t limit it to dessert. “I think it would be good for breakfast, too,” he says, which works great for me because my breakfasts usually include brownies anyway.

1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce real maple syrup
1/4 ounce Nux Alpina
3 ounces whole milk
1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Build all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake.
  • Strain over new ice in a highball or punch glass
  • Garnish with a pinch of fleur de sel