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Drink in Detroit: Masala Milk Punch

“Last year—the first year Sugar House was open—we got a lot of requests for hot cocktails, so we started riffing on the traditional ones. My wife and I love Indian food, and there’s this restaurant we go to when we’re in Chicago called Clay Oven that has the best masala chai tea. Last time we went, I thought, I’d love to use this in a cocktail. So when we got home, I made a warm version of it. The masala spice mixture is heavy on ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper. That, combined with the heartiness of the milk, is just killer. And I love how the spiciness of the rye, the sweetness of the rum, and the fruitiness of the cognac go together. At the bar, we jokingly call it the trifecta of booze.”  

Who Dave Kwiatkowski, owner/head bartender

Where Sugar House



9 black tea bags 

2 ounces ground masala spice blend

2 ounces freshly grated ginger



1. Make masala tea syrup: Simmer ingredients in 4 cups water for 20 minutes. Strain into a liquid measuring cup, then add an equal amount of sugar to create a 1:1 syrup. Stir until dissolved.

¾ ounce Rittenhouse rye

¾ ounce Chalfonte VSOP cognac

¾ ounce Brugal Añejo rum

2 ounces whole milk 

2. Fill a 9-ounce mug with boiling water. In a separate glass, combine 1/2 ounce masala tea syrup with ingredients above. When mug is hot, discard water, pour contents of glass into mug, and top with boiling water. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg.



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