Friday, July 31, 2015

Punch Parties!

Those dog days of summer are here and who wants to shake and stir cocktails all night?  Make it easy on yourself and whip up these fine punches and rest your weary dogs.  Enjoy the party! 

Iberian Punch
Named for the European peninsula that contains Portugal, Spain and parts of France, this party drink packs its punch with wines and grape based spirits from that region.
¼ cup Madeira (if you can find the Rare Wine Historic Series New Orleans, you’ll thank me.  The Savannah series is great too)
¼ cup Ruby Port (I use Sandeman)
1 ½ cups amontillado sherry (try Lustau Los Arcos)
¼ cup Grand Marnier
2 chilled 750-ml bottles sparkling wine (Spanish Cava works well, Champagne is you are feeling fancy)
1 ½ cups Cognac (I use Pierre Ferrand 1840)
8 lemons
1/2 cup light raw sugar
Block Ice
Apple slices cut into festive shapes and frozen grapes
Fresh Grated Nutmeg (the fresh nut is a must)
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemons, and try to only remove the peel as the with pith can be bitter.
Muddle the peels in a bowl with the sugar and set aside for an hour to let the flavors combine.
Juice the lemons to make about 8oz of lemon juice. Add lemon juice to the bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Strain the mixture, without the lemon peel into your punch bowl.
Add all the wines and liqueurs except for the Bubbles (save that for right before you serve) and add a block of ice (this can be made days before with a silicone baking dish)
For Garnish: Freeze individually picked grapes.  Right before serving, cut apples going from top to bottom and cut out festive shapes like stars, circles and trees with cookie cutters.  Add sparkling wine right before serving and grate fresh nutmeg over the entire punch bowl.
Irish Channel Punch
Satsuma is a local Louisiana citrus in season in the fall.  Its bright and bitter citrus flavor is perfect match with the subtle golden spiciness of the Irish whiskey.
Satsuma Punch
8 oz. fresh satsuma juice, plus zest
8 oz. fresh lemon juice, plus zest
8 oz sugar
750 ml strong Assam tea
1 (750 ml) bottle Irish whiskey
2 oz. Amer Hiver (Bitter orange and cinnamon liqueur)
1 oz. rosewater syrup*
Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving
Satsuma peel, for garnish
  1. In a large punch bowl, toss the satsuma zest and lemon zest with the turbinado sugar and muddle well. Let sit for one hour.

    2. Add satsuma juice, lemon juice, tea, whiskey, liqueur, and rosewater syrup; stir until sugar has dissolved. Strain, chill, and serve with a dash of grated nutmeg. Garnish with satsuma peel, if you like.
Rosewater syrup can be found in some specialty stores.  Or you can make a simple syrup and ad a few drops of rosewater to taste.

Apple Pickin’ Punch
Upstate New York, where I am from, has a fine tradition of picking apple in the autumn.  This punch would be the perfect refresher after spending a crisp fall day in the orchard with the rye giving it a nice spice.

SERVES 15-20
8 cups apple cider
3 cans (about 750ml) of dry hard cider (such as Crispen)
1 750ml bottles of ginger beer (such as Gingeroo) 
1 750ml bottle Rye Whiskey (such as Willett or Bulliet)
4 oz lemon juice
Several dashes orange bitters
1 orange sliced into rounds, and apples into Stars for garnish
Cinnamon sticks, star anise for garnish


Combine the ciders, ginger beer, whiskey, lemon juice, and bitters in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Stir to combine. Top with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Ladle into ice-filled punch glasses.

1 comment:

Bill Covitz said...

We are bringing back our summer party - 8/29....I might give one of these a try! Thank you!!! Come to CT on a business trip that weekend - you can get a private tour and ice block info, etc. Say YES!!!!