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Passing the Holidays with the Flowing Bowl: Denizen Rum Punch for your Holiday party

November 19, 2011

Celebrating with The Flowing Bowl: Denizen Rum Punch for the Holiday Party

It’s that time of year again for hosting your very own happy chisma-channa-kwanza fetivities…

With the holiday season approaching rapidly, many of us are stuck scrambling for flavorful and economic ways to entertain guests and provide that little bit of lubrication to get the party started. Lucky for us that Punch has come back en vogue in recent years.

Serving as a communal way to celebrate and enjoy a tipple since the 16th century, it shouldn’t be surprising that we should look to the past for tipples to serve up this time of year.

Below are two adaptations of a nearly century-and-a-half-old recipe that we have appropriated from the research of the one and only David Wondrich, award-winning Cocktial Historian and author of his latest work, Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl. Note that these recipes are adaptations made for varying levels of ease-of-use so as to accommodate your lifestyle while not making you look like you are still doing something a little more sophisticated than soaking some large fruit in a bathtub full of swill as you did in school back in the day.

Simple Method:

Denizen Winter Punch

½ tspn Angostura bitters

1 tspn ground cinnamon

1 tspn ground nutmeg

4 ozs lemon juice

8 ozs by weight granulated sugar

8 ozs Apple juice juice (local when possible)

1 750 ml Denizen Rum

8 ozs VSOP Cognac

10 ozs hot water

Preparation: Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan and stir in sugar and spices until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients, pouring in the juices last, stirring all along.
Choose to serve on ice in a punch bowl as per below or hot in a crock pot.
Garnish with cinnamon sticks and lemon wheels sliced thin

Intermediate Method:

Denizen Billy Dawson’s Punch (Modern)

Adapted from Dave Wondrich’s Punch: The Dangers and Delights of the Flowing Bowl

4 whole lemons peeled

8 ozs by weight demerara sugar

6 ozs lemon juice

1 750 ml Denizen

8 ozs VSOP Cognac

8 ozs  Stout Beer

2 cups (16ozs) water

Grated Nutmeg

Grated Cinnamon

Lemon wheels sliced thinly

Serves 14-16

Procedure:

Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler into long swatches up and down along the lemon

Use these long peels to express the oils of the lemon skin by squeezing them into the already measured out sugar.  

Add 8-10 ozs boiling water and stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved

Add juice of lemons, Rum, and Cognac, Arrack, and Stout, stirring all along

Finish a la minute by adding 10-12 ozs  slightly chilled water and ice and stir well

Garnish by grating fresh nutmeg and placing thinly sliced lemon wheels on the surface 

Advanced Method:

Billy Dawson’s Punch c. 1863 al la oleo sacchrum

Adapted from Dave Wondrich’s Punch: The Dangers and Delights of the Flowing Bowl

4 whole lemons peeled

8 ozs by weight demerara sugar

6 ozs lemon juice

1 750 ml Denizen

8 ozs VSOP Cognac

2 ozs Batavia Arrack

6 ozs Guinness Stout

20 ozs  water

Grated Nutmeg

Serves 14-16

Procedure:

Muddle the peels of the lemons in a receptacle with raw sugar to create an oleo sacchrum
(muddle to paste, you may achieve this easier by cutting the lemon peels into long thinly cut, or julienned slices before muddling them with the sugar 

Add 8 ozs boiling water and stir until dissolved

Add juice of lemons, Rum, and Cognac, Arrack, and Stout, stirring all along

Finish a la minute by adding 12 ozs boiling water

Garnish by grating fresh nutmeg and placing thinly sliced lemon wheels on the surface

Notes: Because you are basically making a sweet, sour, fatty oil here, this one takes some extra commitment in the form of spending an hour or more working over the peel of lemon (maybe a job left to be delegated to those kind enough to offer a hand) by grinding the granules of sugar and esentially pulverizing the lemon peel into the sticky mixture of sugar, oil, and the white pithy inner skin of the fruit which should be minimized by using a vegetable peeler to pull the skin of the lemon as closely to the outer edge as possible to turn this mixture into a beverage alcohol party-in-a pot.

Rum Punch Professional Tips:

A few simple ways to make your Punch Extrodinary

Don’t skimp on ingredients 

Be sure to use fresh juice and fine spirits

When possible, it always pays off the grind spices freshly for that extra fresh aroma

Choose a good Stout Beer: While we love Guinness and it works here, we like to look for interesting local brews like Sixpoint Brewery’s new Diesel Stout in New York. 

Serve with the appropriate ice 

If you can, take the time to and space to freeze some “specialty punch ice” for that extra presentation. You can generally use some kind of heavy duty plastic wear (one that fits the size of your punch bowl, of course) to freeze distilled water into a “mold” and then turning its frozen contents upside down in the punch to show the smoothed-out frozen bottom of the ice as the top. 

Take the time to Garnish  

While slicing lemons is laborious to get those thin rings that will float, you don’t need a lot; a few lemons should last the party. 

Know the story  

Take the time to know what goes into your punch so that you can cross reference the fact that this stuff has been the life of the party for centuries and impress your guest with bits of knowledge like the blend of aged and young Trinidadian rums and Jamaican pot-stilled rums that goes into every bottle of Denizen that is sent for blending and bottling to the age-old dutch blending house located in the storied city of Amsterdam. But more on that later…

 

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