PAGU Milk Punch · Pagu

Pagu cocktail consultant Jimmy Khaw wanted to make a boozy drink that emulated Thai iced tea without having to use fresh milk. His solution? Turn it into a batch cocktail by making a clarified milk punch.

A clarified milk punch does contain dairy (and lactose), but it’s neither creamy nor opaque. That’s because it includes acid from citrus (in this case, yuzu juice). The acid curdles milk proteins, turning them into solids that are then strained out of the mixture until the punch-in-progress turns clear. Khaw notes that this may take two to three strains to accomplish—and that whatever solids are strained out should be reused.

“Your first strain will result in a lot of milk solids caked onto your coffee filter,” he says. “Don’t automatically throw that away.” For your second strain, Khaw suggests pouring the liquid through the exact same filter. While that will slow down the straining a bit, he says, “it will actually help remove more of the very fine, partially dissolved milk particles, resulting in a clearer final product.”

The finished product has the signature flavor (and color) of a glass of Thai iced tea, but it’s less sweet and features a round, silky texture thanks to the clarified milk. “[The process] takes away a lot of the sharp, tannic, and bitter characteristics from the drink, and extends its shelf life too,” Khaw says.

Pagu Milk Punch (yields about 1 liter)
1 ¾ cups water
12.5 ounces Chiyonosono 8000 Generations Shochu (about half of a 750ml bottle)
50g Thai iced tea mix
1 cup simple syrup
¾ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons yuzu juice

Combine shochu, Thai iced tea mix, simple syrup, and water in a large container. Allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, before straining out tea solids using a fine mesh strainer or chinois. Add yuzu juice and milk to mixture, stirring to combine. Seal container and store the mixture overnight, then strain through a coffee filter supported by a funnel, fine mesh strainer, or chinois. Continue to strain until mixture is almost clear (this typically takes two to three strains). Refrigerate until cool before serving. Keeps up to 6 months, refrigerated.

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