Photography by Tom Arena
“Imagine if a flawless glass of white wine ate a hallucinogenic mushroom,” says Natasha David of her “luscious” milk punch, which dispatches a full bottle of Chardonnay alongside pineapple gum syrup, Sauternes and spiced velvet falernum. Featured in her cocktail book Drink Lightly, the author and former owner of NYC’s Nitecap bar is only one of many devotees using Chardonnay in applications way beyond the wine glass.
Journey to the Milky Way
From Drink Lightly, by Natasha David (Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed, 2022)
Well in advance, prep the Chardonnay milk punch: In a small pot over medium heat, heat the milk until it’s just about to simmer. Do not let the milk boil.
In a large bowl, combine the Chardonnay, Sauternes, Velvet Falernum and syrup. Add the warmed milk. The milk will immediately begin to curdle as it reacts to the acid in the wine. Let sit for 2 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth into another bowl. Discard the solids. Repeat this until all solids are removed, three or four times. The final result will still be somewhat cloudy (the fat from the milk wash will add texture and dimension). Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until it is cold (at least an hour and as long as two weeks).
When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator. Some residue may have settled at the bottom of your container; gently shake to reincorporate. Serve by pouring 5 ounces for each cocktail over cubed ice in a wineglass or intergalactic chalice of your choice.
Serves 5 to 6.
This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!