Cranberry Spiced Clarified Milk Punch

November 20, 2018

Clarifying cocktails is not new around here. Well, on Craft & Cocktails anyway. If you are new here you may not quite know what clarified cocktails are, no worries here is a break down of the science behind the magic. We are heading to my best friends families home for Thanksgiving this year and on cocktail duty, naturally. Along with cozy mulled wine, I am serving up this delicious Cranberry Spiced Clarified Milk Punch!

I wanted to do batched cocktails ahead of time to make things easier day of as well as not be underfoot shaking cocktails in the kitchen as the meal is being prepped. It’s a mixed crowd as far as tastes go so I didn’t want to bring bitter, booze forward drinks like a Boulevardier or an Old Fashioned. These are easy to batch of course because they are all booze and can actually sit around for a long time in jar in your bar. I wanted a citrus and cranberry drink which normally should be made either right before or shaken a la minute to preserve the fresh juice flavor. In these cases, I turn to clarifying, a.k.a. milk washing, the cocktail.


 Clarifying does make a drink more clear, sometimes making it crystal clear, but it also helps preserve the cocktail. Clarifying can also be done with gelatin, agar agar and a centrifuge, but who has one just laying around (although I wouldn’t mind adding this tool to my homebar…) Although they are all different methods, they have the same purpose: removing the insoluble particles. Because of this, the cocktails can be preserved for a long period of time stored in the fridge even thought they have citrus. I like the protein/milk clarification which gives the cocktails a silkier, more round mouth feel. Along with cranberry, spices, and citrus, I added  in Velvet Falernum. Classically in tiki drinks, this sugar cane based liqueur is a great fit in many drinks. Flavors of Clove, lime, ginger and occasionally almond dance through each sip of falernum. Clearly a perfect liqueur for fall and winer cocktails as it has been for summer tipples. In this Cranberry Spice Clarified Milk Punch, it is the perfect match for the baking spices and bourbon to serve at your holiday gatherings. Make big batches ahead of the holidays, and you can pull out a pitcher ready to serve for unexpected guests and impromptu merriment for you!



serves 14-16

  • 1 750ml bottle bourbon
  • 7 oz Velvet Falernum
  • peels from 5 lemons
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1  whole nutmeg, chopped
  • 14 oz cranberry syrup (recipe below)
  • 7 oz lemon juice
  • 7 oz orange juice
  • 7 oz water
  • 10.5 oz whole milk
  • garnish: grated nutmeg, orange peel and optional sugared cranberries

1. Peel 5 lemons, reserving fruit for juicing. Add bourbon, velvet, falernum, lemon peels, cinnamon sticks, and nut meg to a container. Let infuse for a few hours. Strain out solids.

2. Add cranberry syrup, juices, and water to the infused booze mixture and stir.

3. In a non-reactive container, add the cold milk. Slowly pour in the cocktail into the milk. Stir. Let set for a few hours in the fridge to let the milk (a.k.a. curdle) do not stir, let it sit.

4. When the wheys have formed into a “web” in the container and settle to the bottom, it’s time to strain. You can leave it for up to 24 hours.
Put a coffee filter or cheese cloth over a container or jar with a funnel. I used a Chemex coffee maker. Slowly strain into the filter. It will take a bit to fully strain*

5. To serve: Pour into a glass with a large ice cube, grate of nutmeg on top twist of an orange peel. A a skewer of sugared cranberries is optional.

*If you want an extra clear drink, leave the milk wheys in the filter and strain the drink through this again.


Cranberry Simple Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, or frozen whole cranberries

Add all ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. You want the cranberries to pop and split to release their flavors. Take off the stove and let cool. Strain the mixture into a sealed container and place in the fridge for up to a month.

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  • Reply Inka November 21, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    How interesting! I didn’t even know the purpose of milk clarification. Thanks for this!

    • Reply Ashley Rose November 26, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      So cool right? Science is delicious!

  • Reply Erica C. December 5, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I tried a clarifies cocktail the other day and am hooked. I am definitely making this drink. However, I noticed the first set of instructions says to add the star anise but the ingredient list says whole nutmeg. So, add both?

  • Reply Sarah January 4, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Hi! I made this drink for Christmas Eve and it was a real crowd pleaser! It was so tasty, and everyone that tried it had a second (or third!) glass. I tried both straining methods but found the cheesecloth worked better for me. I can’t wait to make your pineapple clarified milk punch now! Thanks for putting this delicious recipe together.


    • Reply Ashley Rose January 15, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Hi Sarah. I love to hear that! So glad you made this for such a special occasion and everyone enjoyed it. Cheers!

  • Reply Marc Davis January 6, 2019 at 2:24 am

    Great recipe. I wonder if this would also work with other fruits than cranberries. I was thinking about strawberries, or raspberries. or even blackberries.

    • Reply Ashley Rose January 15, 2019 at 11:39 am

      I bet it would be great with different fruits! I would follow the same method and make a syrup with the fruit. Otherwise, add simple syrup and strained juices of the fruit you want to use in in step 2.

  • Reply Dhody prakoso August 11, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Ashley, is the juice fresh ? Im interest to try. And how long its can stay in the fridge after bottling ?

    Thanks for your help

    • Reply Ashley Rose August 15, 2019 at 1:09 pm


      I always use fresh juice! I sometimes cheat with refrigerated store bought grapefruit when I need a ton of it, but otherwise I fresh press juice, using it within a day.

      This should last a month+, but really depends on if the container it’s stored in is properly sanitized and how often the container is opened this exposing it to more bacteria from the air.

  • Reply Michael June 17, 2021 at 7:43 am

    you can always learn something new and it tastes wonderfull

  • Reply NP October 31, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    Which bourbon did you use for this? I am pretty new, and not well educated on bourbons, so I have no clue what to use. This sounds like an awesome Christmas gift for friends.

    • Reply Ashley Rose November 1, 2021 at 7:03 pm

      So great that your are trying your hand at making these! And great idea to give it as a gift, what lucky friends. I used Buffalo Trace bourbon, but you can use something like Four Rose’s as well. You don’t need to splurge higher priced bourbon as it’s nuances would be lost in the cocktail.

  • Reply Tamar November 16, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Is this ounces or fluid ounces?

    • Reply Ashley Rose November 20, 2023 at 10:35 pm

      Hi there. Fluid ounces! Most cocktail recipes are written in fluid ounce or milliliters. Cheers!

  • Reply Charles December 1, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    Love this recipe! I’m going to use this for a Christmas cocktail competition with my wife’s family – just curious, are you able to substitute bourbon with another liquor (or is the taste not very bourbon forward)? I love bourbon, but the rest of the group isn’t as crazy about it

    • Reply Ashley Rose December 22, 2023 at 6:07 pm

      I love that! You can also do gin, rum, brandy or tequila! It’s a pretty flexible cocktail for spirits. I hope you win 😉

  • Reply Sarah December 2, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    Hi! What are your thoughts on using a lactaid milk for this? Or a nut milk? Just curious if the result would be the same (or similar).

    • Reply Ashley Rose December 22, 2023 at 6:09 pm

      I think lactaid milk would work! You need a high fat and protein nut milk for it to work well so a homemade one is best. I do 2 parts water to nuts which is much higher than the grocery store nut milks.

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