What is it?

The Glass Onion's Milk Punch is its take on a traditional Deep South holiday drink. Records indicate that milk punch was served in 1522 and it was considered a "festive" beverage from 1600-1700. New Orleans made it a "delicious indulgence" in the 19th century. Benjamin Franklin shared a recipe for milk punch while visiting Boston in 1763.

What's the story?

Sarah O'Kelley and the staff at The Glass Onion reworked their cocktail menu to focus on Southern distilleries.

The Milk Punch, O'Kelley says, was inspired by Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream.

"This excellent product is made with Tennessee whiskey compared to many sipping creams that start out with a vodka base. The use of a delicious bona fide whiskey seemed to merit its own cocktail as we reworked our bar to focus on Southern distilleries. We thought of a take on a White Russian but could not find an artisanal coffee liqueur we felt great about using.

"That's when we thought of the New Orleans Milk Punch, which usually contains bourbon or brandy with milk, sugar and a garnish of nutmeg.

"So, for our milk punch, we just build upon what Whisper Creek has started. We add some of our Hickory Hill milk (from the Upstate) and a touch more whiskey (actually bourbon) for smooth deliciousness with just enough 'punch.' "

Hickory Hill Dairy, another local product, was established in 1764 by the Dorn Family in Edgefield and continues to this day to produce milk and dairy products.

Who's buying it?

O'Kelley reports that guests of "all sorts" order it any time of the day and at any point in the meal. "But at GO, we always imagined it would be perfect with dessert or as a substitute for dessert or of course at brunch, which is when New Orleanians traditionally drink it."

Who's making it?

Milk Punch is on the menu at The Glass Onion for $8.


"Milk Punch is one of the more ancient medications in the pharmacopoeia. They drank it in Colonial times, they drank it in Boston, they drank it on the Mississippi riverboats, they drank it just about everywhere, right on through the Second World War. ... And no, you can't use skim milk, or soymilk. Grow up." - David Wondrich

"We drink milk punch on Christmas morning after the presents are opened. Then we all get back in our beds with a big glass while brunch is cooking in the oven." - Martha Hall Foose, author of "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea"