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Golden Pineapple Spice Punch

Golden Pineapple Spice Punch 15.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Spirits Dec 20, 2017

This clarified punch seems like a modern bartenders’ magic trick, but the technique it employs has been around for hundreds of years. It is not a difficult drink to make, but it does take time for the punch to rest and separate (it’s not something you can whip up in a few hours). Essentially, it uses the proteins of milk to “wash” the color and harsh edges of the liquid, leaving you with a delicate, silky punch that retains the softness of milk without its opacity.

You will need several large bowls, a large pitcher, at least one fine-mesh strainer or a funnel and plenty of coffee filters (or a cheesecloth, nut-milk bag or other tightly woven material for straining the drink). The vanilla bean simple syrup is delicious, but in a pinch, you can use a scant 1/4 cup plain simple syrup plus a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Make Ahead: The punch should be refrigerated at least 1 day in advance, and preferably 2 or 3 days. If you’re serving it in a punch bowl, you’ll want to make a large block of ice the night before serving. The vanilla simple syrup can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Where to Buy: The vanilla bean simple syrup uses a scraped vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste. Many grocers carry whole vanilla beans, but spice stores such as Bazaar Spices and Penzeys may be a more reliable source for the freshest whole beans (or vanilla bean paste). Allspice dram is available at Ace, Batch 13 and Schneider’s of Capitol Hill in the District.

15 four-ounce servings

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 15 four-ounce servings

  • For the punch
  • 2 cups brewed chai tea, such as Twinings brand
  • 2 1/2 cups pineapple juice (preferably fresh; if using bottled, make sure it is unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 or 4 fresh limes)
  • 1/2 cup allspice dram (see headnote)
  • 2 1/2 cups rum blend (a mix of good-quality light and dark rums is nice; we used 1 cup Smith & Cross, 1 cup Banks 5 Island, and 1/2 cup Plantation Pineapple rum)
  • 1/2 cup green Chartreuse
  • 1/4 cup vanilla simple syrup (see headnote and NOTE)
  • 1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Ice (large cubes or block of punch ice; see headnote)
  • For optional garnish
  • Thinly sliced citrus wheels
  • Thinly sliced fresh ginger root
  • Whole star anise
  • Fresh rosemary


For the punch: Stir together the brewed chai tea, pineapple juice, lime juice, allspice dram, rum, Chartreuse, vanilla simple syrup and bitters in a large bowl.

Pour the milk into a large pitcher, then gradually pour the punch mixture into the pitcher. Stir gently; the milk will begin to curdle and separate. That's okay. Transfer to the refrigerator to allow the curdling and separation to continue for at least 24 hours, and preferably 2 or 3 days. (If you’re in a rush, you can use more coffee filters and manually filter the milk-punch mixture, but the more time you allow, the less active work you’ll have to do.)

After 24 hours, you should see that the punch has separated significantly. There will likely be a layer of curds floating on top, but most of the milk solids should have settled at the bottom of the pitcher. Use a fine-mesh strainer to skim curds off the top (discard them), then gently pour the clarified “middle” of the punch into a large bowl. Try not to jiggle the bowl; doing so will disturb more of the milk solids and result in a less-clear punch.

At the bottom of the pitcher, you’ll likely have a mix of milk curds and clear punch. Place a fine-mesh strainer or funnel above the large bowl, and line the strainer or funnel with a coffee filter, then ladle the last of what’s in the pitcher into the strainer so the liquid drains into the bowl, capturing the solids in the coffee filter.

You will be left with a large bowl of punch (about 60 ounces). It will probably still be cloudy from the milk solids that haven’t been strained out yet. This liquid can now be strained through the same coffee filter process described in the previous step. You’ll likely use multiple coffee filters to finish it (as the solids collect in the filters, the filters become blocked — switch them out as needed until your punch is clear). Refrigerate the final clarified punch until you’re ready to serve it.

For the optional garnishes: When ready to serve, put your punch ice and any garnishes into the punch bowl. Pour the clarified punch gently over the ice. Ladle into clear punch cups or cocktail (martini) glasses.

NOTE: To make the vanilla syrup, combine 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan over low heat. Split one vanilla bean open with a knife, then use the knife to scrape the seeds directly into the pan (may substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste; see headnote). Increase the heat to medium-high, stirring to make sure the sugar has dissolved and the vanilla bean is distributed. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Cool completely before using or storing (in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 weeks). The yield is about 2 1/2 cups.

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Recipe Source

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.

Tested by M. Carrie Allan.

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Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

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