A Key Lime Pie Meets Milk Punch Cocktail

Light yellow cocktail with a vanilla bean and key lime slice garnish
Photo by Tom Arena

Courtesy Drew Hairston, beverage manager, Dirty Habit, Washington, D.C.

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s love for Key lime pie and rum, the Florida Man cocktail balances the treat’s various flavors. It turns out, a milk punch is a natural fit when you want to turn a dessert into a cocktail. “When you order a milk punch, don’t shy away if it lists obscure spirits or ingredients that don’t usually go together,” says Hairston. “The technique can create new and interesting flavor profiles that aren’t possible otherwise.”

Discover the Singular Thrill of Milk Punch
  • ½ gallon non-homogenized, lightly pasteurized whole milk
  • 1 (14.4-ounce) box graham crackers
  • 4 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 15 key limes
  • 5 limes
  • ½ cup no-cornstarch powdered sugar
  • 3 vanilla beans, split, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cups Cognac
  • ⅔ cup velvet falernum
  • ⅔ cup Licor 43
  • ⅔ cup Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
  • Key lime wheel, for garnish
  • Vanilla beans, for garnish

Steep cold milk with graham crackers for 30 minutes, then strain out solids with fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Zest and juice key limes and limes. Set aside in separate containers. Refrigerate juice.

In a bowl, combine cracked cinnamon sticks, key lime and lime zest, powdered sugar and vanilla beans. Let sit for minimum of 6 hours or up to 1 day.

Add key lime and lime juice to sugar mixture. Combine that with Cognac, velvet falernum, Licor 43 and dry Curaçao. Slowly pour mixture into graham-cracker milk. Stir very gently. Allow mixture to curdle for 1–2 days.

Mixture will separate into two layers. Strain top layer (without milk solids) through fine mesh strainer lined with coffee filters to remove all solids. To serve, pour over ice. Garnish with key lime wheel and vanilla bean. Makes 90 cocktails.

Published on December 6, 2019