Let’s face it, when most people think of punch, the first thing that comes to mind is sticky, bright red, artificially flavored swill made with the cheapest booze available. Punch, however, actually has more refined roots. A true punch, like many of the world’s great drinks, can be traced back to the nautical days of imperialism and exploring the far corners of the world and its cultures. The original punches were truly a mélange of things picked up along the trade routes of old and compiled by tinkering sailors over the course of their long voyages. When these ideas and ingredients were brought back home the formulas became more refined, until eventually it became commonplace to find a bowl of punch served just about anywhere there were people gathering. This was particularly true at gatherings of the wealthy, as many of these exotic ingredients were luxury items.
As David Wondrich’s book PUNCH: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl points out, the word is derived from the Hindi “paunch,” meaning five. Early punch recipes typically contained five ingredients: spirit, citrus, sugar, water, and spice. Of these early recipes, one that has stood the test of time and survived many an adaptation is the Sangaree, introduced to America at the 1964 World’s Fair. (Note: Sangaree differs from Sangria, which also resembles a punch.)
Here’s my offering to mix: A combination of old, older, and new by using a few products that have just been released in the past few years.
Safe Harbor Sangaree
Build in 10 oz collins glass:
1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Formula 3 star Cognac
1 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry orange Curacao
1 oz Fonseca Bin 27 Ruby Port
1 oz still mineral water
(or tap if you must)
.25 oz fresh squeezed lemon
.25 oz Rich Demerara syrup
(2 parts demerara sugar: 1 part water)
Fill with ice and stir. Garnish with grated nutmeg and an orange peel (press oils out on drink before serving)