Monday, October 7, 2013

Portmanteau Punch

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Ah, Diplomatico Rum.  Just the very name of it offers words of propriety, quality and flavor.  Digging a bit deeper I’ve learned than Diplomatico is small batch, pot-still distilled in a method that extracts richer flavors from the, “thick across the tongue” charcoal filtered final product.  This is gorgeous rum only made more robust from long aging in used whiskey barrels. 

I’m a fan of this rum in my punch and this leads me to a most salubrious slurp for your early fall activities.  

The Portmanteau Punch is just what the doctor ordered in this respect.  I created this punch to offer an alternative to your summer punches.  The difference between the summer and the fall punches are quite simply the ingredients.

A fall punch will have juices and liquors more suited to the changing of the seasons!  In this case I gathered my thirst and thought about how my summer thirst and my fall thirst differs.  In the summer I’m seeking thirst-quenching flavors and in the fall I’m seeking flavors that will warm me deeply inside.  This is why I added a hint of the mysteriously candid, Tenneyson Absinthe to my punch.  The savory elements of distilled herbs along with the intensely flavored toasty, licorice notes make this a inexplicably warming concoction.

 Of course those who know me will never say that I ever cut corners in my punch recipes.  I always use freshly squeezed juices, never concentrates or cheaply made artificially flavored powdered then reconstituted liquids.  Secondly, when a punch is called for, it must be memorable.  You achieve this by using cocktail augmentations such as bitters.  What are bitters?  They are to the cocktail chef (or mixologists) what a spice drawer and fresh herbs are to the saucier in a kitchen.  Bitters offer depth and balance to a mixed drink.  Plain and simple, bitters offer more to a cocktail than just another ingredient added to fill up the bowl.  Third on the list of imperatives is the ice.  I never add cubed ice to a punch bowl.  Using cubes will not just chill the punch; it will dilute the delicate flavors making the drink a mish-mash of flabby ingredients.  So please don’t add cubed ice to your punch.  If you must add ice, try to find an icehouse in your town and order a large chunk (like 1 pound or more) of ice to cool, not dilute your carefully made drink filled with expensive citrus juices.  The ice is essential.  If you must use ice, add it to the wine glass THEN pour the punch over the ice in the glass.

The Portmanteau Punch’s influence comes from the release of my first book this week.  The book is named Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today.  This book is the first book on the subject of what type of drinks (always healing ones) may have been served in pre-1906 Apothecary shops for the diagnosis, treatment and further care of all kinds of ailments.

The Portmanteau, although not created specifically for healing, will help relax your body, acting like a healing potion.  Did you know, if you put the Absinthe on your hair (I know, most people wouldn’t put Absinthe in their hair, but…) it may help rid you of pesky head lice?  Yes, one of the first uses for the active ingredient in Absinthe was wormwood concentrate. It was originally created to rid the body of all sorts of lice!  We don’t have such problems today with modern indoor plumbing like showers and baths, so keep your Absinthe in the glass, please!

The elements of blood orange, pink grapefruit and savory navel orange juices along with a healthy dose of Diplomatico Rum and a healthy hit of Tenneyson Absinthe finished by the intensely flavored Bitter Truth’s Aromatic Bitters are a trip to the subterranean tropics without a plane ticket.

The preparation of this punch is very simple and you shouldn’t have any difficulty making this work the first time out.   If you have any problems and you live in the tropics, please let me know and I’ll walk you through the steps.  I’ll even taste your punch for flavor if need be!  Just send me a plane ticket and we’ll discuss the other details of the punch and the steamy heat.

The Portmanteau Punch
Ingredients for about ten – fifteen thirsty persons:
1 750ml bottle Diplomatico Rum (the white rum works best)
¼  bottle Tenneyson Absinthe (or your choice of Absinthe)
1 Qt. Blood Orange juice
1 Qt. Navel Orange juice
1 Qt. Pink Grapefruit juice
ALL JUICES MUST BE FRESHLY SQUEEZED – this is my signature.
1 750ml bottle Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Pink Grapefruit essence) 
1 small bottle: Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Organically Grown Roses  (essential)
10 or so drops Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
Chunk of ice or ice kept separately for the glasses
I recommend serving this punch in a goblet or Burgundy glass
Grapefruit and lemon zests for garnishing the glasses

Preparation:
To a punch bowl…
Add: All liquid ingredients including the Perrier Sparkling water
Stir well to combine, and then add the Bitter Truth Bitters over the top
Add Citrus zests to glasses
Add ice to the glasses
Spoon punch over the cubed ice and serve to a THIRSTY audience. 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

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