Mix This: The Varnish’s Warm Milk Punch with Max Seaman

January 2nd, 2014 — 1:13pm

Last winter we had a really great version of a Warm Milk Punch on the menu. This is adapted from a 1711 recipe by Mary Rockett, which was published in the wonderful book Punch, by David Wondrich (2010). According to Wondrich, it is “the oldest extant recipe for Milk Punch.” The story goes: punch was the mixed drink of choice in the 17th and 18th century. People drank so much of it that the sour nature started causing problems. Adding milk was probably an attempt to “smooth” out the citrus. Since this recipe originated in England, it stands to reason that the hot temperature of the drink helped them through cold winter nights. According to a conversation with Mr. Wondrich, Mary Rockett also happens to be the first commercially published author in Great Britain.

We have significantly modified the original recipe: we call for 2 parts demerara rum and one part cognac rather than all “brandy;” we make an “oleo-saccharum” rather than infusing the liquor with lemon peel; we modify the ratio of sweet and sour; and we increase the amount of milk rather than also adding a lot of water.

The Varnish Warm Milk Punch
-peel 6 lemons. Set aside the fruit for juicing and place the peels in a non-reactive bowl or container. Add 6 teaspoons of superfine sugar and muddle until the sugar starts to pull out the essential oil in the peels. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. After it sits the peels will shrivel and the oils and sugar will combine into a fragrant syrup which in historical punch jargon is called an oleo-saccharum.

In the container with the oleo-saccharum, add:
- 333ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 425ml turbinado simple syrup*
- 500ml Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac or other good FULL BODIED cognac, preferably 86-94 proof
- 1 liter El Dorado 5yr rum, or other dark, rich DEMERRARA rum

Stir to combine. Then add 1850ml of scalding whole milk. Preferably raw milk, but it HAS to be whole milk. If you are finicky about raw milk, scalding it will have the same effect as pasteurization.

Once you have added the scalding milk to the mixture, stir vigorously until the curds and whey have separated. Strain the whole mixture through cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer such as a “chinois.”

Taste for richness and intensity of alcohol. You may want to add a little bit of filtered water if it is too rich or boozy. You may also want to add more simple syrup if the punch is too tart, or to add richness. The amount of sugar the punch needs depends on the richness and sweetness of the milk.

At this point you can serve immediate while warm – just ladle into teacups and top with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg. If you’d like to bottle it, let it sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight, until the remaining curds settle to the bottom. Siphon the liquid off the top and bottle. It can sit on the shelf at cellar temperature for a few months. From the bottle, pour into a saucepan, heat, and serve in teacups topped with nutmeg. Don’t over-heat, you will boil off the alcohol. (you can also serve it cold and it’s quite good) Refrigerate after opening.

*for turbinado simple syrup, dissolve 500g turbinado sugar (“sugar in the raw”) into 750ml hot water

Max Seaman, The Varnish, General Manager

Celebrate NYE 2014 With 213!

December 20th, 2013 — 3:27pm

Still trying to plan something for NYE? Don’t worry 213 has plenty options at all your favorite DTLA watering holes. See the list below and make your choice wisely. Or hit as many up as you can. Though I would recommend the later. Check it!

Honeycut NYE 2014Honeycut
New Years = Cocktails + Dancing + Champagne! $119 includes open bar all evening, food truck for late night snacks and a champagne toast at Midnight! Tickets are extremely limited and available only at

Tony’s Saloon
Featuring a free photo-booth (provided you give us one of your two photo strips for our photo wall). $3 Miller High Life on tap and a High Life toast instead of a champagne because, well, it’s the “champagne of beers”. No cover.

Broadway Bar
The New Year’s Eve Party of the Century! DJ’s Moski and John Blaza mix Electronic Dance, Disco, Funk and Fat Beats. Complimentary hats and noise makers (while supplies last), drink specials all night. Arrive early to assure rapid entry and to avoid the line. Bar will open at 8pm so hurry in and get your groove on!

Seven Grand DTLA
Bring in the New Year at Seven Grand’s Masquerade Ball! Not only will all the bartenders/barbacks be dressed in tuxedos but there will be no line for those with a Masquerade mask. We will be featuring mobile champagne cocktail bar carts with shot bar, free New Years hear and masquerades if you add your resolution to our Resolution Wall, a 9pm New York Manhattan dropping of the ball toast, Midnight champagne toast, special New Years Cocktail Menu, confetti and ribbon decorations and seating for those who are Cabinet Members of Bar Jackalope. Come celebrate with your favorite Whiskey bar!


Seven Grand SD
San Diego is partying in style with two local legend bands Wild Wild Wets and Barbarian and DJ Barry Thomas. No cover, a Midnight Whiskey toast and Wild Turkey Whiskey specials all night!

Las Perlas NYE 2014 SM
Las Perlas
Celebrate New Year’s Eve Oaxaca style with Las Perlas featuring $3 Tecate, $5 Pueblo Viejo shots and table service! You heard right, we’ll be offering table service with two table options. Option #1: a table for 4 with one premium bottle (choice of Cabeza Tequila or Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal), Paloma mixers, round of Tecate and total admission for 8 – $350. Option#2: a table for 8 with one premium bottle (choice of Cabeza Tequila or Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal), Paloma mixers, round of Tecate and total admission for 12 – $550. Did I mention DJ Darren Revell will be spinning the  night away? Well he will be! Tickets available at

Microsoft Word - Varnish NYE Flyer 2014 original photo.docx
The Varnish
Naughty New Year’s Eve! Please join us as we ring in the New Year with a vintage set of risque songs from Naughty Niki and the All Nighters. Reserve a table (parties of 2, 4, or 6 after 9pm) which include endless cocktails, champagne punch and delectable bites from The Marinated Tart – $130 per person (gratuity included). Or walk in (parties of 4 or fewer after 9pm) which includes 2 cocktails plus endless champagne punch. Additional drinks menu price – $55 per person (gratuity included). Plus the 4th Annual Varnish Limbo Contest and champagne toast at Midnight! Please contact Max Seaman at 213.622.9999 or at

4100 Bar
$5 drink specials, free champagne toast at Midnight. No cover!

Golden Gopher
$5 drink specials, free champagne toast at Midnight. No cover!

CanaNYE 2014 Caña Rum Bar
Music by DJ Anthony Valadez and late night snacks.

Will be having a special seasonal cocktail list two Gin based punches & a Liqueur Bar. Free Champagne Toast at Midnight. No cover.

Casey’s Irish Pub
Featuring the all female Black Sabbath cover band Black Sabbitch playing three sets throughout the night starting at 9:30pm and a Midnight champagne toast.

Seven Grand DTLA Whiskey Society: Nikka Whisky w/ Maurice Chevalier IV, Wed. 12/18, 7pm

December 16th, 2013 — 12:09pm

Nikka Whiskey Vert
This coming Wednesday, December 18th at 7pm, we will be hosting Maurice Chevalier IV from Nikka Whisky. Maurice will be tasting and educating us on six marks from the Nikka line, and we will be toasting Roberta Cowan a.k.a. Rita Taketsuru (The Mother of Japanese Whisky) whose birthday would have been this week.

A Welcome Punch will be served at 6:30pm, so come early and get a good seat. Late-comers will not be seated, but can wait at the bar (enjoying Nikka specials with your paid-up membership card,) and meet Maurice after the event. First-timers can pay a $15 fee to check it out.

Maurice is a great presenter, and these Nikka whiskies are absolutely amazing, this will be a rare treat for the Whiskey Society as the year draws to a close. Don’t miss out- RSVP now on the link below:

Register here!

For more information on the Seven Grand Whiskey Society L.A., hit the link beneath my signature. Feel free to forward this invite to a friend, they can join our email list below.

We also offer private tastings, hit the flight-menu link for more info.

Memberships can be purchased at the bar, dues are $120 a year and allow the bearer to bring a guest to any event. Tastings/educations occur monthly, based upon the travel schedule of our guests, this year we hosted over 40 events.

If you haven’t been down to try our Seasonal Cocktail list, you’re really missing out. We make some of the best Hot Toddies that I have ever tasted in my life. Our Happy Hour was voted Best in L.A. by the L.A. Weekly- Come check it!

We do not take our success for granted, we are all very grateful for your continued support. Bring some friends and come toast the Holiday Season with us before the end of the year!

We look forward to seeing you. A Merry Holiday and Happy New Year to all of you from all of us here at Seven Grand L.A.

Pedro, currently sipping coffee.

Pedro Shanahan,
Spirit Guide, Seven Grand Whiskey Bar
Co-curator, Whiskey Society L.A.

Read the photo/video account of our recent trip to Ireland (Scotland story coming soon!)
White-Knuckle Driving: Seven Grand crew tours Ireland