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Sure, the union of several good things isn't always a great thing. But when it works, oh does it ever. Case in point: PDT's Cereal Milk Punch, a New York riff on the classic New Orleans Milk Punch (a milk-based brandy or bourbon cocktail). Like a couple whose strong personalities somehow mellow each other out, whiskeys and Momofuku Milk Bar's cereal milk meld to beautiful effect in this cocktail.
Jeff Bell, the head bartender at PDT in New York's East Village, knew that whiskey was the way to bring out the essence of Christina Tosi's brown sugar-toasted cornflake-milk. "I initially tried it with just the Glen Thunder corn whiskey, but it needed something else," Bell explains, "so I added some Bernheim Wheat Whiskey to round it out. They have extremely different flavors. And using just one would be too much."
To soften the intense, unaged corn whiskey, Bell adds a half-ounce of Bärenjäger's honey liqueur. "People often see sugar as a component of a drink on the menu and assume it's going to be too sweet," laments Bell, "but you need a little sugar in cocktails. It softens the alcohol so you can get the drink's flavor without the burn."
Here, that honey sweetness does its job—so the corn rushes the senses without bite, mixing with soft layers of cereal and of course, milk. Bell pours it in a Collins glass over a long, protruding rectangle of ice, topping it off with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg.
If you've never had a Milk Punch, then forget what you know about dairy in cocktails; this is not a White Russian and it's definitely not a Mudslide. It's neither as creamy, nor as sweet, as you'd expect from cocktail based on Tosi's cereal milk. It is, however, as delicious.