This weekend I'm throwing a party. Usually that means I'm offering cocktails that I can quickly mix to keep everybody happy. However, it always involves a lot of shaking, mixing and running around on my part. It is something I enjoy on occasion, but this time I want to relax too. And when I learned anything last year then it's the fact that a good punch will keep people happy, while the host of the party can relax as everybody helps themselves. So let's make some punch!
To help me decide which punch I should make, I consulted David Wondrich's great punch book. As I flipped through the pages I stumbled upon a recipe that isn't too different from the punches I made in the past and, best of all, can be prepared beforehand and then stored until needed.
Make Some Punch
I slightly modified the recipe from the book so I could measure the ingredients easier. Here is what I used:
The USS Richmond Punch
- 1000ml Courvoisier VSOP Fine Cognac
- 700ml Porto Don Pablo Tawny
- 300ml Porto Don Pablo Late Bottled Vintage 2010
- 500ml Myers's Rum
- 500ml Old Pascas 73%
- 250ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
- 1000ml Strong Black Tea
- 12 Lemons
- 3 Cups Demerara Sugar
After gathering the ingredients the first thing you need to do is to peel all those lemons. As always be careful to only get the outer rind without the white pith.
The next step is to use the lemon peels and sugar to prepare an oleo saccharum. I suggest letting the sugar and lemon peels rest for at least half an hour, but longer is usually better. I decided to let the mixture rest for an hour. Meanwhile there is enough time to juice the peeled lemons. This yields around 450ml to 500ml of lemon juice.
After the sugar had time to absorb the lemon oils, prepare the black tea and let it steep for the appropriate amount of time. Be sure not to let it steep for too long as the tea can become bitter. Mix in the tea along with the lemon juice and stir to dissolve the sugar and combine everything.
As you can see, my bowl was way too small, so I had to transfer the tea mixture to a much bigger bowl. The remaining steps are rather easy. Add the cognac, rum, port and Grand Marnier, then stir well. This mixture is the base for the punch. You can use it right away or bottle it for later use. If you decide to store the punch base be sure to strain it through a fine sieve.
Then Serve Some
When it's time to serve, mix one part of the punch base with one part mineral water, champagne or sparkling wine, then add plenty of ice and grate nutmeg over the top. Since I had to try my punch before offering it to my guests, I took a solid sparkling wine and tried a cup or two.
The punch is deliciously fruity with a rich rum flavor. You really need a characteristic Jamaican rum as this adds so much to the finished punch. Half the rum I used was overproof rum so I could get even more flavor into the final mixture. The rum, cognac and port go really great together and keep a great balance. No flavors are lost.
I'm really looking forward to what my guests have to say about the USS Richmond Punch. All I can say right now is that you should enjoy this punch carefully. It's rather strong despite being so tasty. One cup too many and the evening might take a bad turn. My plan is to add a bit of chilled mineral water besides the sparkling wine so the final mixture isn't as potent as it could be.
That's it for this week, I can now look forward to enjoying the weekend and hope you will have a good time too. The weather finally seems to realize that it's spring, which means it's time to relax in the sun and imbibe. If you liked this week's post you can leave a comment, follow me on Twitter or subscribe. You can also do those things if you didn't like it.
Title image via Hill Memorial Library Louisiana State University.