Hot and

I can’t sleep. I don’t know why, but while the rest of London is snoring and drooling its way through the Land of Nod, I am thrashing up and down my bed, twisting my bedsheets into a knot and staring at the ceiling, feverishly imagining leaping, sleep-bringing sheep.

The internet is full of helpful suggestions, like leaving your bedroom window open (so you can lie in bed restfully imagining all the rapists, murders and burglars queuing up with their ladders below); sleeping with your head facing north (this involves me sleeping widthways across my bed, but I’m quite short so that’s OK); or not watching TV or using a laptop an hour before bed (what else am I supposed to do with my time?).

1 thing everyone is agreed on is that you shouldn’t just lay there. Get up and do something to take your mind off sleep, they say. So occasionally, at 3 in the morning, you will find me scrubbing the kitchen floor, sorting bank statements or deciding now is the time to take up embroidery.

I’ve also come up with a ritual and magic potion that helps to send me back to sleep. Standing at the hob, staring out at the night, I brew up a warm milky drink and then retreat to the sofa and burrow under blankets. Sipping the sweet, spicy concoction, I huddle as deeply as possible into the soft furnishings and finally, eventually, my eyelids droop. A few hours later I wake up to the sound of the morning delivery vans, a milky moustache still on my lips.

A milky
Makes 1 mugful


300ml whole milk
1 tbsp brandy
½ tsp honey
A small piece of mace

1 Pour the milk and brandy into a small pan and add the honey and mace. Place over a very low heat.

2 Gently heat, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the milk is just starting to steam. Remove from the heat and fish out the mace.

3 Pour into a mug and grate a little nutmeg over the top. Crawl under blankets on the sofa and sip until sleepy. A second dose may be required.

Tagged with: Bedtime drinkBrandyMilk

11 Responses to A milky bedtime drink

  1. I like your drinks! I’m an insomniac myself and have tried EVERYTHING (not the sleeping with my head North, I have no idea where North is, so might have to drop this idea). Next sleepless night I will try your bedtime drink, if it doesn’t work I can always drink the brandy on its own 🙂

  2. Food Urchin says:

    Tell me have you ever woken up on your kitchen floor, covered in bank statements, organza and cotton, clutching an empty bottle of brandy in your hand?

    Because that’s where this milky bedtime drink will eventually lead to, I can tell you that….

  3. Lizzie says:

    If in doubt, DRINK BOOZE. I’ve had trouble sleeping recently too and have been taking to the Night Nurse. This looks like a healthier option.

  4. Ruth_dt says:

    Doesn’t adding the brandy straight in make the milk curdle?

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      It hasn’t so far – maybe it’s such a small amount of alcohol compared to the volume of milk that it doesn’t have enough curdling power? But you could add the milk, honey and spices to the pan, put on the heat and then add the brandy once it has begun to heat to make sure it doesn’t curdle.

  5. misscay says:

    Boozy Bedtime Drinks ftw. I am especially partial to a large shot of whisky before I retire for the evening. With some of that and The Shipping Forecast I’m out like a light.

    This looks delicious though. I’ve never used Mace before, and this looks like a good place to start.

  6. ginandcrumpets says:

    @Ute Not being able to sleep is such a nightmare. And it’s so frustrating. The brandy does help 😉

    @Food Urchin It’s like you’ve got a camera in my kitchen. Have you got a camera in my kitchen?

    @Lizzie That is the exact advice my dad was given once by a doctor many years ago. It holds true today. And Night Nurse is good stuff too.

    @misscay Whisky + shipping forecast ought to guarantee sweet dreams. I think I’ll try it.

  7. chieko ann says:

    I do gin and milk in the microwave with an orange peel twist. I use a full shot 🙂

  8. Christopher Hall says:

    I like to toast my honey first; put it in the bottom of a saucepan, sprinkle on cinnamon and nutmeg (it won’t blend into the drink otherwise, just floats in globs on top). On low heat, let it cook, gently stirring a few times so it doesn’t burn, until it’s a nice brown. Pour your milk in (from the mug so you have the right amount), and I whisk several times to make sure it’s well blended and doesn’t burn. I put the brandy in the mug, then poured the hot milk on top. First time using brandy, and I really like it.

  9. Raphael-Raúl Santiago Sebazco says:

    …I will definitely try this recipe… I also, have one I recently came up with, for either variety or if you don’t drink alcohol. Heat a cup of milk and pour cream of coco in a mug, about two or three spoonfuls, depending on taste. Pour the hot milk in the bug and stir and drink…delicious…and it will put you in dreamland for sure.

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