You Don't Have To Jump On Complicated Cocktail Trends, According To Tony Abou-Ganim - Exclusive

Seeing all the new and complicated cocktail trends has boggled our minds, but there's no need to jump on them, according to Tony Abou-Ganim, master bartender and author of "The Modern Mixologist." We spoke to Abou-Ganim at the Nassau Paradise Island Wine and Food Fest's Jerk Jam event and chatted about clarified milk punch, a brandy cocktail that dates back to the 1700s, making a surprising comeback. 

"I mean, it's interesting, and I'm a big milk punch fan ... Sometimes people try to get a little too esoteric and jump on the bandwagon, and how geeky can we get?" Abou-Gani told us. "And there's nothing wrong with that at all, but again, sometimes it's the respect for the classics." Abou-Gani feels that a classic milk punch is wonderful as is — creamy and milky — but while he wouldn't make homemade clarified milk and add it to his milk punch, he won't stop you from doing it. "If you want to tackle [making clarified milk punch], more power to you," he said. Abou-Ganim, in essence, likes his milk punch classic. Simply mix some bourbon and rum with sugar and milk to make a traditional milk punch and call it a day.

When it comes to getting a little esoteric while developing trendy new drinks, we're guilty of this. Case in point: we have a pumpkin spice latte milk punch recipe, which we feel would ruin all other fall cocktails for you. 

Enjoy the drink the way you like it, according to an expert

We can see why master bartender Tony Abou-Ganim scoffed at tackling homemade clarified milk punch. While the process is not particularly difficult, waiting for warm milk to curdle and separate takes time. Then you need to filter out the clear liquid from the milk and use that in your milk punch. The resulting drink is clear rather than creamy or off-white. It appears to be a tedious process for a drink with a trendy name that looks like a clear drink but tastes like milk. If you aim to add flavor, perhaps adding brown butter or melted ghee to make a "clarified butter milk punch" would be better. 

Abou-Ganim tossed a bone to all the fans of clarified milk punch and other trendy and modern cocktails out there, like the viral MSG martini. "I always tell people, drink what you like to drink," he told us. "If you want to shake your Manhattan, shake it. I mean, who am I to say you're doing it wrong? Obviously, I want people to understand why. Yes. But ultimately, you're the one who's ordering the drink, drinking the drink, paying for the drink, enjoying the drink. You should have it the way you like to drink it." If you like clarified milk punches, order them by all means, but the heart of what Abou-Ganim is saying is that you shouldn't feel pressured into keeping up with complicated cocktail trends