Punch! Just the very sound of the word makes me thirsty. And no recipes for punch would be complete without some type of holiday to roll them into.
Take the holiday period for example. Everyone is tired from running around and doing things for everyone else but themselves. A lovely holiday punch does much to lessen the anxiety of the season by offering an amusing quaff, that really costs you very little.
I’m a fan of milk punches. One of my favorites is made with brandy instead of the usual bourbon. It has a nuttier taste against the sweet cream, vanilla extract and whole milk. I recommend this method because it is just different!
Classic New Orleans Brunch Cocktail
- 1.5 oz. Brandy
- .5 oz. dark simple syrup
- .25 oz. pure vanilla extract
- 1 oz. heavy cream
- 2 oz. whole milk
- Fresh nutmeg (essential!)
- Chill down some Collins glasses
- To a Boston Shaker, filled ¾ with ice
- Add the liquid ingredients
- Cap and shake gently to combine
- Pour over fresh ice in your prechilled glass
- Top with freshly grated nutmeg
- Serve first thing in the morning
I’m a massive fan of the classic punch bowl that sits in gracious repose on your bar. At this busy time of the year when your guests are especially curious about what is going on in your punch bowl, it’s very important for it to be filled at all times. Fresh ice should be observed and replaced when necessary, surrounding the punch bowl. As you know, don’t dilute the punch with ice, rest the entire bowl in another bowl, this one filled with ice. Put a towel down on your bar, so you won’t have a massive water ring on the fancy wood surface. If your bar is stone or even zinc, the towel will keep your punch from rolling off. You’d never guess where they run off to!
Holiday Roasted Fruit Punch
One of my favorite holiday punches is made with the citrus fruits that are not so attractive. In fact, you won’t see the skin at all, so use the fruits when they get ugly. The flavors inside are pretty awesome when you roast them. You’ll want to pre-heat an oven to 300 degrees, then drop the heat down to 250. When you open the oven door it will open at 300 and slip down to 250, instead of starting at 250, opening the door and losing all your heat. It makes time go faster when you learn little tricks of the cooking trade! My advice is to do your mis en place when the cooks aren’t in the kitchen. Your life will be better, I promise you.
Slice the citrus fruits in half. What fruits do you use? Any that you want really, even lemons and limes, since this recipe calls for a slow caramelization. Place the citrus fruits on a silicone slip-pad on a stainless-steel sheet pan. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of Demerara Sugar on each half. Cover with Angostura Bitters. Roast slowly for an hour at 250 degrees, cool and juice. How many should you use? Quite a few, as the amount of juice will be less than you would expect. You absolutely can use ½ roasted juices and ½ freshly squeezed juices. It’s up to you and how much time you have at your disposal.
I use about a gallon of each, roasted to fresh juice.
The Punch Ingredients. Blue
Since this is a holiday punch, I must suggest that you stock a very special, spicy ginger syrup named Pickett’s. They do a spicy and a medium spicy. I recommend the spicy. This punch uses Mezcal, so the spicy version absolutely makes sense to your palate and stomach.
For a full punch bowl…
- 1 750ml. bottle basic Mezcal
- 1 bottle Pickett’s Spicy Ginger Syrup (concentrated!)
- ½ bottle of dry vermouth of your choice
- 2 qt. roasted citrus juices
- 2 qt. freshly squeezed citrus juices
- Angostura Bitters, LOTS!
- Fresh Nutmeg!
- In your prechilled punch bowl combine all the liquid ingredients
- Scrape fresh nutmeg over the top
- Stir again
- Serve in teacups that you purchased at garage sales, mix and match!
Another delightful punch that dates back to the early days of whiskey and indulgence is a take on the Blue Blazer. Your boss may frown upon you lighting a mug of eighty proof spirits on fire or watching your novice bartender showing off their skills by trailing a line of liquid fire down your bar-top in front of your guests. That’s not a good thing.
I use a cocktail stirrer that is made of metal for this drink. The metal has been heated with a torch so it’s quite hot. Be careful with this. No branding marks on the arms of your bar-back!
Blue Chevrolet Blazer
- 2 oz. Blended American Whiskey
- 2 oz. Boiling water
- 1 Bar Spoon of Demerara Sugar
- Fee Brothers Cardamom Bitters
- Add the funky Demerara sugar to a stoneware mug
- Take the metal stirrer that is super-heated with a blow torch and touch it to the sugar- it will spit and holler! Pay that no mind, let it caramelize the sugar, then pour the hot water on top of the sizzling hot, caramelized sugar
- Add the blended whiskey to the mug
- Dot with the Fee Brothers Cardamom Bitters