Last week I said I was going to do something in particular here at DOTW. I canned that idea for the time being when I remembered that this would be my last post before Christmas of 2017 and something more festive was in order.
I adapted this week’s restful and sweet, but also pretty punchy, milk punch from…I can’t remember. You see, a week or so back, if you googled “Christmas cocktails” you got a few listicles with many suggestions,. A tequila milk punch recipe very similar to today’s drink was in one of them. However, as the holiday drew closer, the Christmas drink compilations proliferated and I just can’t find it anymore.. Since nobody ever copyrights or trademarks cocktails, I’m slapping my own name on this own. I hope I didn’t make some stupid gringo mistake with my horrid high school Spanish.
I do recall that the original version of the drink called for some very specific brands and a light spray of absinthe from an atomizer. I didn’t have the brands, I had the absinthe, but not the atomizer. In any case, I really couldn’t see the point of strong licorice-anise flavor on top of this particular drink anyhow. So, here is my stripped down, simplified version of a milk punch that basically says, “Feliz Navidad” and also, to quote Vincente Fox, “We’re not paying for the f*cking wall!” Vamonos.
Leche de Navidad
1 1/2 ounces silver/white tequila
1 ounce whole milk
1/2 ounce agave syrup
1-2 dashes mole chocolate bitters
Ground nutmeg (festive garnish)
Put the tequila, milk, agave, and Mexican-style chocolate bitters in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Agitate very vigorously and then double strain through both your usual strainer and also a mesh strainer, into a small old fashioned/rocks glass with ice in it. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on the top for color and flavor, and then appreciate whatever it is you’ve got to appreciate. If you’re reading this, the odds are — like myself — you’ve got it pretty easy compared to a lot of people around the world this holiday season. It’s good to remember that and maybe do what you can about it.
I really enjoyed making Leche de Navidad, which I think is a pretty dandy, egg nog alternative that’s not exactly healthy but at least doesn’t provide a meal’s worth of calories in a single small rocks glass. Perhaps not too surprisingly, the slightly sweet blue agave in the tequila plays very nicely with the spiced honey flavor of agave syrup. Indeed, I never really realized just how sweet some good silver tequilas tasted before this week.
Speaking of tequila, my brands for the Leche de Navidad, were Casa Noble Blanco, 90 proof Roca Patrón Silver, and Hornitos Plata. I think my general rule here is that the more you like the brand of tequila straight, the more you’ll like the finished cocktail. I like all three of these tequilas, but the super-premiums — the pricey Roca Patrón and the relatively inexpensive Casa Noble — blended in a smoother, more transcendentally ambrosial fashion with the other ingredients. Still, no disrespect at all to Hornitos, which always delivers value for a very reasonable price point. It’s a bit drier so the flavor of the finished milk punch with the plata was a bit spikier.
Finally, yes, I know the double straining thing might seem a bit precious, but do it anyway. I tried this drink both double and single strained. Something about removing the tiny chunks of ice that regular cocktail strainers miss made for a purer, more joyful booze experience. If you’re as skeptical as I was, your free to experiment on your own. Leche de Navidad is addictive enough that you might want to on several occasions.
Merry Christmas, gentle readers. Let’s maybe remember our friends around the world this year. Here’s one of my favorite places to do it, but there’s many others if you have one. Let’s make next year better than this one.