Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Birthday Celebration Toast: Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch

I hope this finds all of you having a wonderful holiday season! I'm among those who have a Christmastime birthday. I often get asked the question, "Does your birthday often get thrown in with Christmas?" and I give the answer that when I was growing up and into adulthood, my family did a great job of separating the two celebrations and during the holiday season, took the time to make me feel like my birthday was a special day, as well.

Here I am at almost-age 4 in my Grandma Cleva's kitchen "helping" her bake my birthday cake in 1978. Even as a young child, I was in my element in the kitchen.

This year I decided it was the year for me to check something off my bucket list and visit New Orleans during Christmastime to see my Delta Zeta Little Sister Susan so we could celebrate our December birthdays together. I made the trip earlier this month and truly had an experience of a lifetime. As 2012 comes to a close, I will be sharing several posts with you about my time in beloved NOLA and reviewing some special books about this great city.

Susan and I designated the final night of my visit as the night for our official birthday celebrations. We had our special dinner at my choice for one of Bourbon Street's best restaurants: Brennan's Bourbon House. My husband and Craig had eaten there on our honeymoon and I fell in love with this gem of a restaurant with its divine menu offerings, second-to-none service and graceful dining atmosphere. This visit was just as amazing as our honeymoon celebration dinner. We sat next to the Brennan Family and I had the honor of being introduced to Dickie Brennan, proprietor of Bourbon House, who hails from a long line of New Orleans restaurant visionaries. Meeting him was a true celebrity experience for me. My dinner of paneed veal and crab was divine. After dinner, we were each served an elegant dessert complete with a glowing birthday candle. It was during this dinner that I was introduced to something so spectacular that it instantly became one of my favorite things: bourbon milk punch. I chose this on the menu for my birthday celebration drink. Their version of this Southern classic blew me away.

Here's a little bit about the history of this divine drink. It is traced back to colonial times. It became a very popular drink across the South. During WWII, the drink seemed to be seen less and less everywhere except New Orleans. It has long thrived in NOLA and I am so happy to have been introduced to it at Bourbon House, which is renowned to have one of the best recipes in the entire city and I believe it!

This year's birthday, although not an official milestone birthday, has been an especially reflective one for me. The arrival of my 38th year has made me especially mindful to savor the gift found in each day of living. Now that the stroke of midnight has arrived to welcome my birthday, I offer up a birthday toast. For my drink of choice, I was extremely excited to find out that Dickie Brennan graciously makes the recipe available for  Bourbon House's legendary and award-winning Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch. I happily concocted this delight in my home tonight and am proud to share their recipe as my pick for THE best frozen bourbon milk punch.

"Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch"
from Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House, New Orleans

4 cups milk
1 cup bourbon
1/4 cup vanilla extract
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Garnish: dash of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and blend for 8 seconds. Garnish with a dash of nutmeg.

 Now for a birthday toast. To my readers, to my family and friends, to my Heavenly Father: I offer up the words of one of my  favorite quotes. This is by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.” 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson 


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