Is it milk punch, or milk with a punch? Given its name it must be the latter. In any case, scailtin (Irish whiskey milk punch) is a great drink for a cold winter night. For this recipe I used Jameson because for some reason it seems to be more popular than Bushmills.
This old Irish recipe is similar to a hot toddy, but milk is used instead. It is also sweetened with honey, and flavored with cinnamon and ginger. It is absolutely delicious!
So, I got into the spirit (no pun intended) of this drink because we’re so close to St. Patrick’s day. Besides, my husband Tom and I are getting ready to travel again to Ireland in May for our 30th wedding anniversary. One of the things we are looking forward to is visiting many of the amazing and colorful pubs like the one you see above.
An old-timey drink
Scailtin (Irish Whiskey Milk Punch) is a beverage dating back to the 1700’s. Some early versions of this recipe were served in a punch bowl. Alcohol was used as a preservative, so the beverage was also sold bottled. This was such a popular drink that in 1838 Queen Victoria granted Nathaniel’s Whissof’s company exclusive rights to be the sole purveyors of scailtin to the crown. An honor indeed!
Other milk punches
A similar type of milk punch is popular in New Orleans and other parts of the Deep South.
Syllabub and posset are old English recipes that are also similar to scailtin (Irish whiskey milk punch). For example, syllabub is an old English dessert that came to America with the colonists. It was popular between the 16-19th centuries. Posset was a similar drink also made with milk, and spiked with ale or wine. You will be interested to find out that posset was used as a cold and flu remedy according to certain 15th century sources.
Some Irish history
Before I let you go I want to share some Irish whiskey history with you. By the 17th century, Irish whiskey had a better reputation than its Scottish counterpart. The British then instituted the malted barley tax which made Irish whiskey more expensive. So, the resourceful Irish changed the recipe to use a combination that required less malted barley, thus lowering the tariff, and changing the flavor of this popular spirit. The change proved beneficial because it gave a rise to the popularity of Irish whiskey, and with that came a rise in the number of new distilleries. Another interesting change that came about: the addition of the “e” to the word by producers such as John Jameson. This was done in order to differentiate Irish whiskey from Scottish whisky. I think you will be able to impress your friends with this new knowledge.
Enjoy this beverage today, and as the Irish say: Slainté
Being that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, you might be interested in these other Irish recipes:
Dublin Coddle: is a hearty Irish stew made with bangers (Irish sausages), and vegetables. Irish butter cookies are favorite melt in your mouth shortbread cookie recipe that does call for Irish butter, no substitutes. If you want to make a hearty meal for your family then you have to try Guinness beef stew. Serve this heart dish with Irish soda bread or a sweeter version, Irish brown bread.
Scailtin (Irish whiskey milk punch)
An old Irish recipe consisting of milk, and Irish whiskey sweetened with honey and flavored with ginger and cinnamon. It's like a hot toddy. This drink will warm your heart and soul on a cold winter night.
freshly grated nutmeg to decorate
Pour milk and whiskey in a small saucepan.
Stir in the honey, ginger and cinnamon. Heat slowly while whisking. Do not let it come to a boil.
Pour into mugs. Top with grated nutmeg.