Ever since man could milk a cow and run a pot still, he has likely been spiking his cereal with something strong. The latest version of boozy dairy drinks is milk punch, a rich, sweet, high-octane alternative to the mimosa. Popular in New Orleans and at brunches throughout the South, creative interpretations have wended their way into bars and restaurants across America. To bracket your bibulous study of this trending day drink, we share with you two versions: a classic bourbon milk punch enlivened with vanilla and nutmeg, served at Brennan’s in both New Orleans and Houston, and a new-school persimmon-flavored variation made with vodka and rum, from Providence in Los Angeles.

Milk Punch

• 2 oz. brandy (bourbon may be substituted)
• 1½ oz. whole milk
• 1 oz. simple syrup
• ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
• Freshly grated nutmeg

Mix liquid ingredients in a glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Clouds Over California

• 2–3 cinnamon sticks
• 1½ oz. soy milk
• ½ oz. Velvet Falernum
• 1 oz. Boyd and Blair potato vodka
• 1 oz. Selvarey or Caña Brava white rum
• ¾ oz. persimmon syrup (recipe below)
• Freshly grated nutmeg

Steep cinnamon sticks in soy milk for two to three hours, then remove. Combine soy milk, Velvet Falernum, potato vodka, white rum and persimmon syrup in a shaker and shake well. Pour into a collins glass with ice. Top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Persimmon Syrup

• 2 Hachiya persimmons
• 1 D’Anjou pear
• 2 Granny Smith apples
• 2 cups water
• 2 cups sugar
• ½ tsp. white pepper
• ½ tsp. ras el hanout
• ½ tsp. ground aleppo pepper
• ½ tsp. five-spice powder
• ½ tsp. cardamom
• ½ tsp. cloves

Chop persimmons, pear and apples. In a medium saucepan bring fruit, water, sugar and spices to a boil; reduce heat and simmer slowly until fruit is soft and turning translucent (about 20 minutes). Allow to cool. Strain syrup once through a mesh strainer or chinois—you want to remove the larger particles, but it’s okay if small pieces remain.