Tis the Season for Punch

There are two categories of drinks that, through their intrinsic qualities, conjure the holiday spirit. The first are hot toddies – cocktails made with whisky, citrus, baking spices, and hot water or tea. They warm the soul, stir the spirit, and – I’m convinced – cure the common cold. (Also considered within this category might be ski chalet-esque cocktails like Hot Buttered Rum.)

The other category is punch. And this is why cocktail luminary and historian David Wondrich’s new book, “Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl” could not have come at a better time.

I’m throwing a small (well, it’s become rather large) holiday soiree this coming weekend, and both for its holiday spirit-inducing qualities, and its ability to serve a crowd, punch will be the focus of the bar. So I’ve been buried nose-deep in Mr. Wondrich’s book looking for ideas, and the real difficulty now lies in narrowing down the choices!

One punch that I know for certain will be on the menu is the Chatham Artillery Punch. Want to join in the fun? Here’s what you’re going to need:

8 lemons
1 pound superfine sugar
750-milliliter bottle bourbon or rye
750-milliliter bottle Cognac
750-milliliter bottle dark Jamaican rum
3 bottles Champagne or other sparkling wine

Squeeze and strain the lemons to make 16 ounces of juice. Peel the lemons and muddle the peels with the sugar. Let the peels and sugar sit for an hour, then muddle again. Add the lemon juice and stir until sugar has dissolved. Strain out the peels.

Fill a 2- to 3-gallon bucket or bowl with crushed ice or ice cubes. Add the lemon-sugar mixture and the bourbon, Cognac and rum. Stir and add the Champagne. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Grate nutmeg over the top and serve.

This will yield about 25 drinks worth.

Another punch towards the top of my list is the Flaming Holiday Punch I spoke about last year. I mean, you set it on fire… that’s a no-brainer, right?

I’m still looking for one more punch to throw in the mix. Maybe Royal Hibernian punch? Maybe something with tea? I’m open to your suggestions. Leave your comments here, or send me your ideas on Twitter.

In the meantime, be sure to pick up a copy of Punch, along with David’s previous book, Imbibe!, which is absolutely a must for the bookshelf of any aspiring mixologist.



Tags: book, bourbon, champagne, cognac, david wondrich, lemon, nutmeg, punch, rum

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