Has anyone ever tried or experimented with the various cocktails called White Plush? There are a few out there, all of them rather different (though all containing milk or cream).
I have not. Would you say it’s a milk punch with a liqueur—often maraschino—as the sweetener? (The daisy of milk punches?)
Originally–see the New York Herald, July 5, 1886–it was just milk and whiskey, in whatever proportion suited. It was touted as being a good morning drink, because the milk cushioned the whiskey, and a good day drink, because the milk masked the whiskey on your breath. I gave it a pretty good test-run when I was writing Imbibe and I found both of those claims fairly specious. A dry (American-style) Milk Punch, it deftly dos away with the best reason to drink American Milk Punches, which is their sumptuousness. I say it’s spinach and I say to hell with it.
Yes, the only time I’ve seen the recipe from Jerry Thomas used in modern times, sugar was added to the milk-whiskey mix. The other original Plush recipes included various amounts a maraschino.
The maraschino seems to stem from Kappeler, who also switched the booze to Old Tom. That was in 1895. In 1908 Jack Grohusko switched it back, but kept the maraschino and threw in the white of an egg to boot. But both of those were epicurean and idiosyncratic versions of the drink; while the drink was still current, as far as I see, is that it was whiskey and milk, period. Only in the late 1930s does maraschino creep into the general understanding of the drink, but by then I doubt highly that any significant number of people was ordering it.