I spotted the yellow-green tentacles of a Buddha’s hand citron reaching out from the international corner of the produce section at my local grocery store last week, and I immediately put one in my cart. The clerk stared incredulously down as the fragrant citrus passed through her hands and I explained that it was like a sweet-scented lemon with no juice or bitterness that’s most commonly used in Asia. Thanks to Ashley over at Craft & Cocktails, I’d been wanting to try my hand at making a clarified milk punch, and I knew that Buddha’s hand would make the perfect main ingredient. I complemented the sweet citrus notes with gin, Earl Grey tea a dash of clove to round it all out.
Because of the way the milk mingles with the citrus in this dish, the milk solids can be removed, leaving behind a clear drink that maintains a creamy silkiness. Mixing this cocktail made me feel like a mad scientist in the best possible way, and this recipe makes a big batch that’s perfect for whipping up ahead of time and serving at your Halloween party.
• 2 cups water
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 cup Buddha’s hand peel, divided in two
• 1 bottle gin
• 2 Tbsp Earl Grey tea
• 1 cup lemon juice
• 2 cups whole milk
• 5 cloves
1. Pour the bottle of gin into a glass pitcher and add the Earl Grey tea and 1/2 cup of the Buddha’s hand peel. Stir and let sit for at least a few hours. Once the gin is infused, strain it to remove the tea and peel.
2. Next, make a simple syrup by combining the water, sugar and the other 1/2 cup of the Buddha’s hand peel in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then turn off the heat and let the peel steep for about 30 minutes while the syrup cools.
3. Add simple syrup and lemon juice to the gin, stir to combine.
4. Heat the milk and cloves over medium heat until it just starts to simmer.
5. Pour the milk into the gin mixture and let sit, undisturbed, in the glass pitcher at room temperature for a few hours. You’re basically waiting until the milk curdles and separates from the clear whey. Once you see the clear liquid at the bottom of the glass and the milk curds at the top, you can strain it.
6. Place a coffee filter in a mesh strainer, and slowly pour the liquid through to strain. Make sure you pour gently as you do not want to disturb the curds. Restrain through the coffee filter if you want to get a super-clear finished product.
7. Serve up or over a large rock.