Modern Mixology: Flagship Punch
Good Day to thee! Today we will be exploring punch, and I will by the end create a HUGE bowl of punch for 200 hungry mouths to try. Punch probably originated on the seas with sailors in the East India Trading Company and I wanted to play homage to that (with a little bit of artistic license) with my Flagship Punch:
So this recipe I’m making is my own this time, and I created this for a shopping event where Mastercard agreed to give away 200 free drinks in a bar, so we created some huge batches of punch that we could give away, we tried to stay true to some traditions with punch which I will cover in a bit. Punch has become somewhat lost these last few years, the forgotten (probably for the best) 70s bowls of suspiciously bright spiked ginger ale floating at old school church fetes lingering in the older generations mind being the best example.
However there are 2 more examples of modern ‘punch’ that seem to spring to most peoples minds should you mention the word, pretty bowls of fancy soft pink liquids with soft summer fruits floating in it from your housewives magazines and food magazines found in supermarkets or the ubiquitous student house vodka and brightly coloured artificial colours served from an industrial oil barrel. The punch I am making is neither of these, and while a few people shied away from the suspiciously brown booze coloured bowl at first, we quickly had a large following around the mysteries of.. the flowing bowl.
So first a little bit about the history of punch, I don’t have my reference books to hand at the moment so this is all off the top of my head, I will edit in some proper dates and references if I get time later. Punch was around long before the creation of the cocktail, people were trying to get the balance of punch right possibly as early as 200 years before the mixologists of the 19th century were even born. It was traditional before the birth of the individually tailored drink, for the high members of English society, or American colonists to have large punch bowls ceremoniously placed upon the table with sufficient amounts of cups and ladles to serve.
Punch was a global phenomenom, spanning from America, to England, to the West Indies and India. The word punch probably comes from the Hindi word “Panch” meaning five, suggesting the amount of ingredients that go into a punch. In its simplest form, this is sweet, sour, strong, weak and spice. So for example sugar, lime, rum, water and a little grate of nutmeg would be a great punch, the devil being always in the details means that the ratios are very important.
It is likely that punch was created by sailors, In 1600 a royal charter was issued forming the West India Trading Company, on their travels to India they encountered many strange spices that they had not come across before, as well as an abundant supply of citrus. Using these ingredients, the sailors attempted to relinquish some of the harshness of any of the booze they had to hand. The result, was punch.
This then spread accross the world, picking up local additions as it progressed, whether it be the type of alcohol, or the weak substance that was used.
I said the proportions are very important and they are, the generally accepted ratio is that of 5, 1 of sour, 2 of sweet, 3 of strong, 4 of weak. spice makes 5. See this quote from the New York Times in 1908 “this recipe i give to thee, dear brother in the heat. take two of sour (lime let it be) to one and a half of sweet, of old jamaica pour three strong, and add four parts of weak. then mix and drink. i do no wrong – i know whereof i speak.”
So! Onto the recipe. I wanted to stay traditional but put my own little twist on it as well. So I decided to use rum, brandy and port. I wanted to make it easy to make on the day, so I made a recipe with pre-bottled ingredients.
Flagship Punch: 35 Servings
750ml Oleo-Saccurum Mix
750ml Green Tea
750ml Pampero Rum
Prosecco and nutmeg to serve
Step 1: The Oleo-Saccurum (This can be done up to 5 days in advance)
Peel 4 waxless lemons, making sure there is no pith on the fruit. My technique is to peel off the entire lemon in strips with a knife like this
And then (heres my patent pending technique) push the flat of the blade down on the yellow part, with the sharp bit facing the pith, and then, pushing down the whole time, gently slice away the white, it takes a little practice but its pretty easy after a while. It should just come off in one lot.
You’re taking the pith aren’t you!
Now in a jar or pan or whatever you have to hand, add 225g of brown sugar. Demerara is best. Muddle the lemon peel a little to help the sugar to extract the oils.
Leave this for half an hour.
Now add the juice from the lemons that you peeled, it should be roughly 240ml. Doesn’t matter too much though. But i measured out 250ml into each.
Stir to dissolve.
Strain the entire mixture into a 750ml bottle, and top up any remaing space with water. You may have to shake to dissolve any residual sugar.
That label says “Punch”
This can be stored for up to 5 days to use in advance, it takes a little work but its worth it, its damn tasty. You could even use it to make really super lemonade if you wanted, just add a little soda water and ice.
Step 2 (The Weak)
This can be done up to 2 days in advance.
Brew up an extra strong batch of green tea.
Steep for about 5 minutes.
Then strain into the same size bottle as before (750ml)
Top up any remaining space with water.
Refrigerate and store for up to 2 days.
Step 3: It all comes together
Take a nice punch bowl.
Add your lemon sugar mix.
Add your green tea.
Add One bottle of rum, half a bottle of brandy and half a bottle of port.
Add a nice big block of ice.
Step 4: To serve
Portion out roughly 100ml per person.
Top with a splash of prosecco.
Grate a little nutmeg on top.
Float a lemon wheel on top, and serve. =)
That’s all for today, thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment, and I will see you all on Thursday for an episode of What to Drink, where we will be covering Rum!