here you will do well to linger; here our highest good is pleasure”

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June 27, 2020

A cocktail that takes more than a day to prepare and which is designed for imbibing days or weeks later wouldn’t normally sound like our cup of tea - particularly when it involves curdled milk - but we can profess that in this instance it’s a drink which is unquestionably worth the wait.

This week we patiently concocted a batch of clarified Milk Punch, a rather remarkable cocktail which if made properly, has been known to last for months without spoiling.
Punch comes from the Sanskrit word ‘pancha’ meaning ‘five’, as the drink was originally made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices.

This somewhat crude cocktail was brought back to England from India by sailors and employees of the British East India Company in the early 17th century. At that time the voyage took six perilous months and if the crew and cargo survived the journey the Punch would too.

The oldest published recipe for a Milk Punch dates back to a 1711 cookbook and was a rich, creamy and heady concoction that would likely spoil before your handover subsided.

But then came the idea of adding citrus to the cocktail, causing the milk to separate and allowing a clarified cocktail to be drawn off and the curds discarded. The process removes most of the colour and cloudiness from the drink but retains the silky-smooth texture while ingeniously preserving the cocktail from going bad.

Charles Dickens was notoriously very partial to a glass of Punch and when he died in 1870 they found a number of dusty bottles of Milk Punch stored in his wine cellar, all of which looked perfectly drinkable.

Broken Clock’s quintessentially English vodka is made for those who appreciate the luxury of time and its characterful taste makes it a great base for this time-honoured cocktail. To prolong the enjoyment even more we’re bottling up some of this week’s batch to keep in our own cellar until later in the year.

For more on the recipe keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow’s Sunday Brunch post.