Traditionally, milk and cookies are left out for Santa on Christmas Eve.  However, that doesn’t mean that you and your guests can’t also indulge.  Substitute spiced rum milk punch for regular milk and serve equally spicy cookies for a holiday-appropriate dessert and cocktail combo.

Having grown up in New Mexico, I have a special bias towards the state’s official cookie of Christmas: the biscochito.  It’s akin to an anise-flavored sugar cookie.  The spice in the cookie pairs well with the spiced rum, cinnamon, and nutmeg of the punch (recipe below).  However, it’s not your only option for milk and cookies.

Norwegian pepper cookies–laced with generous doses of cardamom and (you guessed it) pepper–are another great choice.  I was introduced to these last year by Brookie’s Bites.

I’ve linked to recipes for both cookies rather than providing my own, because baking is not something I excel at.  I do, however, make a mean rum punch.  Here’s how I like to make it…

Ingredients:

1/2 gallon milk

1 cup spiced rum

7 teaspoons of sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Cinnamon and nutmeg

A crock pot

1 day lead time (for best results)

Add the milk, rum, sugar, vanilla, and a dusting of the spices in the crock pot and stir thoroughly.  Set to medium heat to avoid boiling the mixture and burning off all of the alcohol.  Instead, the punch should be just steaming.  Once steaming, let it continue for about 20 minutes.

At this point you have 3 choices.  First, you can serve the rum milk punch right then–hot and in mugs.  However, if you have the patience, let the brew return to room temperature, transfer it into a sealed container, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  (Most liquid things taste better after spending the night in the fridge.)  On the following day, you can either enjoy it cold or heat it up again.  The third option is to freeze it.  When serving the next day, use a fork or something sharp to break up the snowy concoction and serve it like a slushy.

A few notes…  However you decide to serve the spiced rum milk punch–hot, cold, or slushy style–make sure you garnish with a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg.  Also, experiment with the amount of rum, sugar, and spices to tailor the recipe to your preferences.  I tend to enjoy just a little sugar and a lot of spice.  Finally, when you heat milk, a thin film forms on the top, but it is easily removed (because it can be a little unsightly).

Hope you enjoy this spicy, adult version milk and cookies!