This month’s Mixology Monday is all about punch. The the party is hosted by Mike at Hobson’s Choice. He explains his choice of theme:  “Punch fell out of style in the United States decades ago as a result of a confluence of factors. The temperance movement was growing. Advances in the distillation and aging of liquors meant they didn’t need heavy manipulation to be enjoyed. And, perhaps most destructive of all, people started acting like they were too busy to enjoy a punch. As David Wondrich writes in his most recent book, Imbibe!, ‘[t]o sit around a tavern ladling libations out of a capacious bowl was as much to confess that you didn’t have anywhere to be for the next few hours, and America was a go-ahead country, as everyone was always saying.’ I think it is time to reclaim the heritage.”

When I read this month’s theme I had flashed to happy memories of a giant punchbowl of sherbert-gingergale punch that graces my family’s holiday table every year.  I still love that stuff, but obviously I needed something more adult.  Since I had been under-the-weather, my energy level over the past week and a half has been a bit low.  The thought of sifting through all my books to find some punch recipe that I wanted to experiment with was too much.  So, I skipped the middleman and went right to the source—bartender Josey Packard.  I asked for a recommendation for a punch that would please a crowd.  She suggested a Rum Punch by the one and only punch-guru David Wondrich. Josey said that David said (sounds like some weird piece of gossip being passed along) these basic proportions go back to the 1680’s.

Here’s the recipe Josey gave me:

Rum Punch (by David Wondrich via Josey Packard)

1 liter cognac
1 liter dark, heavy-bodied rum
16 oz. fresh lime juice
16 oz. Demerara sugar syrup
2 quarts green tea (8 teaspoons of green tea infused in 2 quarts boiling water)
nutmeg, grated over the top

A Midnight Modern Conversation by William Hogarth, 18th century

I was serving this to a smallish crowd (my family for a joint birthday celebration), so I actually cut the recipe in half and it still made a lot!  My sisters and I really enjoyed this.  Even my mom liked it (and she’s not a drinker; her usual is a wine spritzer of sorts)—with a bit more green tea to her glass.  This punch is a nice boozy balance of sweet, bitter and tart.  The cognac and dark rum are a nice rich base.  The demerara syrup is needed here to balance those spirits. The lime brightens the flavors and the green tea lightens up the whole thing.

If you happen to find yourself at Drink and are interested in trying this yum punch, Josey says she usually calls it “Old School punch, or Colonial Era punch, or something like that.”  Whatever you call it this is some really good stuff. Cheers!

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