Punch For The Late Summer Season

Punch is an easy way to show your appreciation to your guests and what better way than with the brightest and freshest of fruits of the season?

Warren Bobrow late summer punch

May I suggest first empowering your bar-backs. What? Aren’t they more concerned with making your fresh juices and polishing the glassware? Well, they should be doing that- and then some. When you truly want to raise the bar, and promote from the bottom up, the best way that I know how to find talented future bartenders is through the art of a late summer punch. 

It takes an understanding of the classics, starting with Jerry Thomas. Mr. Thomas for all intents and purposes is our inspiration for what we consider the classic cocktails. He was plying his craft a hundred or more years before you disappointed your grandparents by pitching that law degree in favor of slinging Ramos Gin Fizzes to thirsty hordes of newly minted revelers. 

Jerry Thomas wrote the famous book named the Bartenders Guide (also known as “how to mix drinks” and sometimes known as: The Bon-Vivant’s Companion).  His work is as relevant today as it was in the 1840’s and maybe even more so now- with the rediscovery of classic cocktails and nostalgic methodology.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I think the first thing a bar owner or restaurant owner should do is get a copy of “how to mix drinks” and start working out of it. 

 I think a good place to start is by explaining what a wise bartender named Chris James once taught me.  He said don’t throw it out. Don’t throw what out? The last ¼ inch of a bottle. Work with flavors- save it for punch- it’s liquid money and it doesn’t go down the drain. I never forgot this lesson- just like I never forgot the lessons that I learned when I worked as a cook.  There are things that we can do to save the house money, and other things that will get us fired.  I’d rather keep my job and make money for the house than have to search for another one because I was foolish and poured ‘that’ bottle down the drain.  Save it for Punch!

Jerry Thomas Brandy Punch

As interpreted by myself with seasonal embellishments… like Cognac over plain brandy and the use of Champagne instead of plain water.

Warren Bobrow late summer punch

Ingredients

  • 1-750ml bottle of Champagne   
  • 1-750ml bottle Camus XO
    Cognac
  • 375ml Jamaican Rum- find a natural one without added sugar or caramel color 
  • 2 cups Double Simple Syrup (2:1 Turbanado Sugar to boiling water) 
  • 10 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 4 oz. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 3 oz. Grenadine 
  • Whole pineapple sliced and grilled until nicely caramelized 
  • 2 oranges sliced into rounds and grilled 
  • 1 package of organic raspberries

Prep:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large punch bowl
  2. Add a block of ice to dilute and add coolness to the punch
  3. Serve in tea cups with a smile

 

Another great Professor Jerry Thomas drink is known simply as the Gin Punch.  I think it’s a must do in your repertoire because gin is a very popular drink- there always is some left to use in punch.  Quite refreshing and thirst quenching during the hot months in the late Summer. 

Classic Gin Punch- influenced by Professor Jerry Thomas Gin Punch

Ingredients:

  • 1-750 ml bottle of Barr Hill “Tom Cat” Gin (distilled by hand from Raw Honey and local grain and aged in a whiskey cask) 
  • 375ml Champagne
  • 1 cup raspberries- pureed
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice- un-strained but seeded
  • 1-12 oz. bottle of cane sugar based Ginger Beer (like Q-Ginger Beer)

Prep:

  1. Shake with a Boston Shaker until frothy and serve with about a cup of fresh raspberries and orange/lemon pinwheels
  2. Serve in a large punch bowl with plenty of ice

 

The final cocktail of this series is made with a combination of rum and rye whiskey.  I’ve chosen to use the magnificently made Barrell Rye Whiskey #001 and their equally salubrious Whiskey Barrel aged Jamaican Rum.  Pretty amazing stuff together, the interplay of wood against smoke and char surrounding the dry coffee tinged sweetness of the rye whiskey. 

Rum and Whiskey Punch

Ingredients:

  • 1 750ml Bottle Barrell Rye Whiskey
  • ½ 750ml Bottle Barrell Rum (Jamaica)
  • 1 cup Double Simple Syrup (as above)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Crushed Ice
  • Grilled Orange Pinwheels

Prep:

  1. Fill Glasses with the Crushed Ice to cool
  2. Into a cocktail mixing glass, fill ¾ with bar ice
  3. Add the liquid ingredients
  4. Stir, stir, stir
  5. Strain over freshly crushed ice in the glasses and garnish with grilled orange pinwheels