Need a festive holiday punch recipe!
I'm need some suggestions for a punch to serve at our annual neighborhood holiday party. I try to find a different speciality drink each year and thought I'd try a punch this time. It needs to be potent, colorful and appealing to a wide assortment of people. Any ideas? thanks!
This month's "Imbibe" has a number of punch recipes. Unfortunately, they don't post too much of the magazine content on the web site, but they do have one recipe up that looks quite promising, if quite a bit more complex than the recipe posted by pthaloearth:
It seems alot of these classical punch recipes that Wondrich describes involve making an "oleo saccharum" by muddling citrus peels with sugar, then mixing that with juices and booze and allowing that to marinate in a jug or the like before mixing with champagne (e.g. in the Regent's Punch) and/or serving
Question: is there any benefit or harm from letting the jugged mixture sit for several days or more before the final additions and service?
I think there is neither benefit nor harm, except that "stuff" will drop out of suspension as the mixture sits around. I have a three week old bottle of undiluted orange punch (so, mostly oleo saccharum, booze, and orange juice) sitting in my refrigerator at the moment. It smells and tastes pretty much as it did the day I made it, but a rough and somewhat nasty-looking gray sediment has settled at the bottom of the bottle. This, despite the fact that I passed the entire thing through coffee filters a few times before putting it into the bottle. Given the alcoholic proof and the fact that the liquid was cold I'm confident that this is merely unsightly and not bacterial growth or anything like that (JMF, if you're reading this please jump in and let me know if I'm wrong and should toss the rest of the punch).
Charles Dickens punch is pretty good. Here is a recipe set forth in a letter he wrote to a friend, followed by a more modern (and precise) version that works well.
"Peel into a very common basin (which may be broken in case of accident, without damage to the owner's peace or pocket) the rinds of three lemons, cut very thin and with as little as possible of the white coating between the peel and the fruit, attached. Add a double handful of lump sugar , a pint of good old rum, and a large wine-glass of good old brandy‹if it be not a large claret glass, say two. Set this on fire, by filling a warm silver spoon with the spirit, lighting the contents at a wax taper, and pouring them gently in. Let it burn three or four minutes at least, stirring it from time to time. Then extinguish it by covering the basin with a tray, which will immediately put out the flame. Then squeeze in the juice of the three lemons, and add a quart of boiling water. Stir the whole well, cover it up for five minutes, and stir again."
Zest of 3 lemons, peeled off in spirals with as little white pith as possible
1 packed cup brown sugar
2 cups dark rum
1/2 cup brandy
Juice of 3 lemons
4 cups very hot water
More sugar to taste
In a 4-quart saucepan combine the lemon zest, sugar, rum, and the brandy. Warm over low heat. Be sure there's no exhaust fan running. Stand well back as you light the liquid with a long match. When the flames have gone out, stir in the lemon juice and the water. Taste for sugar. Bring the punch to a very gentle bubble, cover completely and cook 10 minutes. Remove the lemon zest. Set aside up to 3 hours, or refrigerate overnight. Serve warm, ladled into handled cups.(Some folks serve it cold, and it is very good that way too.) Other variations include adding cinnamon sticks when re-heating,or a pinch of nutmeg, or cloves, but if you want the real Dickensian deal, stick with the original recipe.
They got a few listed right here, on the Chow site...
I made the Bombay Government Punch for a big party. It's simple, sweet, and strong.