Milkin' It

A punch to go with all of those cookies

This month, Tasting Table is sweet on holiday cookies. This is the ninth in our 12-part series, 12 Days of Cookies:

Lately our focus has strayed from the bar to the oven as we've culled some of the country's most delicious treats for our 12 Days of Cookies.

Now that we're buried beneath pucks of butter, flour and sugar, we're looking to the liquor cabinet for a thirst-quenching accompaniment.

And we found it in the resurgence of the cold-weather cocktail darling, milk punch.

The classic drink has roots in New Orleans, where it's a popular Mardi Gras libation. It traditionally contains brandy, sugar, milk and vanilla. But bartenders have split the genre at its seams and reassembled it, with deliciously festive results.

In San Francisco, drinkers prefer their milk punch with rum. At Rye, the Five Island milk punch mixes 5 Banks rum, brandy, vanilla honey and milk, and restaurant newcomer Locanda spikes a rum-based milk punch with persimmon.

In Houston, the ever-innovative Anvil relies on the wintery flavor of sweet potato; the sweet potato's richness is maxed out with applejack, milk and heavy cream.

But the most classic–and likely the most appropriate for your cookie consumption–is the original. Lu Brow, of New Orleans' Café Adelaide, provided us with the recipe, a perfect pairing for your now-extensive cookie collection.

Brandy Milk Punch

Recipe adapted from Lu Brow, Café Adelaide, New Orleans

Makes one drink

Ice

2 ounces brandy

1 ounce simple syrup (1:1)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1½ ounces whole milk

Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the brandy, simple syrup, vanilla extract and milk. Shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg and serve immediately.