Pitcher and Punch Bowl Recipes

Let’s toast.

View Entire Article

Master mixologist and Peacock Alley bar manager Frank Caiafa authors The Waldorf Astoria Bar Booka selection of cocktail recipes from the pre-Prohibition era salted with historical notes and essays that make for excellent cocktail trivia. Below, an edited selection of five punch bowl recipes ideal for summer cookouts.

Basic Punch

Ingredients

1 bottle (up to 1 litre) spirit of choice
1 litre water (sparkling optional)
178 ml–235 ml fresh lemon juice
½ portion oleo saccharum (or more to taste, depending on lead spirit)—see recipe below
1 quart block of ice
Freshly grated nutmeg and/or citrus slices, for garnish

Notes

Think seasonally when it comes to the starring role here. For example, genever would be fantastic during the summer, while cognac would be better in winter. I’ve intentionally left the amounts of fresh juice and sugar variable, so you can adjust based on the lead spirit. For instance, you may want less sugar if using sweeter, dark rum, or you may want more if using a dry rye whiskey. Once you actually prepare a few of these, you will know what works for you.

As with any cold punch, I strongly recommend combining all ingredients at least a few hours prior to using and refrigerating them. When serving, add block ice from your mold and the pre-batched cold punch to a bowl and you’ll be all set. The ice block will do more for maintaining temperature that it will for dilution, which is fine, as the ingredients are already properly balanced.

(Waldorf) Champagne Punch

Ingredients

1 750 ml bottle brut champagne (or Spanish cava)
1 750 ml bottle chardonnay (an entry-level white burgundy would be ideal)
¼ portion oleo saccharum (or to taste)—see recipe below
1 quart block ice
Fresh citrus slices for garnish

Notes

Place all ingredients (except ice) in a container, stir to integrate, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If necessary, transfer to a bowl, stir to integrate, then add a block of ice. Garnish with fresh citrus slices.

A traditional Champagne Punch would not have included the chardonnay (just 2 bottles of sparkling wine). However, it would have added an ounce or two of fresh lemon juice and a couple ounces of standard sugar. It would’ve also used an ounce or so of fresh raspberry or strawberry syrup for decorative purposes. There was another variation called the Champagne Kinsley, which subbed in red burgundy (pinot noir) for the white. I would forgo the syrup if you’re going this way.

Claret Cup Aux Cerises Punch (Red Wine and Cherry Punch)

Ingredients

2 750 ml bottles Bordeaux Supérieur red wine
472 ml cherry-infused rum—see recipe below
¼ portion oleo saccharum (or to taste)—see recipe below
1 litre sparkling water
1 quart block ice
Fresh citrus slices and optional nutmeg for garnish

Notes

Place wine, rum, and oleo saccharum into container, stir to integrate, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If necessary, transfer to bowl, then add sparkling water. Stir to integrate, and add block of ice. Garnish with fresh citrus slices and optional nutmeg.

This agreeable punch has just the right amount of dark fruits while still remaining on the dry side. Remember, you want to have more than one serving of them. I boosted the amount of rum in order to add a bit more fizzy water at the end while still giving it some impact. Though no sugar was included in the original recipe, I added a small amount of oleo saccharum for a touch of citrus and sweet. You can omit it or adjust it accordingly for your own taste.

Jamaica Orange Cup (Pitcher)

Ingredients

235 ml Smith & Cross navy-strength rum
235 ml fresh orange juice
235 ml water
1/3 portion oleo saccharum (orange-base preferred)—see recipe below
1 litre sparkling water
Ice and orange wheels for garnish

Notes

Add all ingredients except sparkling water to a pitcher. Stir to integrate, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Add sparkling water, stir to integrate, and serve. Add 1 or 2 large ice cubes to each cup and garnish with half an orange wheel.

I’ve opted for the stronger, navy-strength rum to help provide a backbone, but a standard-proof Jamaican rum will also work for a lighter result. The original recipe includes “orange essence”, but the addition of even the strongest of orange flower water made little difference, though making an orange peel–based oleo saccharum did. Just be mindful to adjust the amount against the natural and variable sweetness of your freshly squeezed orange juice.

Ping Pong Punch

Ingredients

472 ml Old Overholt rye whiskey
472 ml Martell VS cognac
¼ portion oleo saccharum (or to taste)—see recipe below
1 750 ml bottle sparkling water (flat, optional)
1 quart block ice
Fresh seasonal fruit, mint, and fresh-grated nutmeg for garnish

Notes 

Place all ingredients except sparkling water and ice in a container. Stir to integrate and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If necessary, transfer to a bowl and add sparkling water. Stir to integrate, then add a block of ice. Garnish with fresh seasonal fruit and mint, and optional freshly grated nutmeg.

Splitting the lead role between two base spirits makes all the difference here. The original calls for the mint to be crushed but it’s not necessary. Just top each cup of punch with a freshly awakened sprig of mint; it makes for a much cleaner presentation.

The original recipe includes no citrus component but three or four ounces may add the bit of backbone that you desire. If you’re going without, I would try this with non-carbonated water for a creamier finish.


Post Date:

June 10, 2016