Sunday, November 17, 2019

Bombay Government Punch

This is a terrific punch for all seasons: tart and sweet, rummy and strong, and well spiced. It is more colonial than Tiki, as it's name suggests. According to Chowhound, this punch is one of the regulated punches of colonial Bombay's punch houses. 

It makes use of an unusual ingredient--Batavia Arrack. This is a forerunner to rum; a cane spirit that uses yeast from fermented rice in its mash. It tastes like a cross between rum and tequila with a funky rice note in the finish. My other choice for the rum is Rhum Barbancourt. I love this stuff. It is well aged but light because it is not a molasses rum. It has a fun, funky flavor of fresh pressed cane sugar from Hati. 

The other colonial addition to this punch is the turbinado sugar syrup. You can make this by boiling 2 cups of turbinado sugar, a rich unrefined sugar, in one cup of water and allowing it to cool.
  • 2 cups Demerara or turbinado sugar (turbinado used)
  • 7 cups water
  • 12 limes
  • 16 ounces Batavia arrack
  • 1 quart dark, funky rum Rhun Barbancourt used)
  • Grated nutmeg, for garnish
Make the sugar syrup and allow it to cool. Add the sugar, rums, lime juice and water to a large punch bowl and stir. Refrigerate for one hour before serving. Cut lime slices to float on top for garnishes and grate nutmeg over the bowl. Add large cakes of ice just before serving.

Virginia Commonwealth Cocktail (Original Recipe)

This cocktail is very Virginia-centric, with two ingredients coming from the Old Dominion. (Local bitters could also be used but that would mean using something from D.C.) This variation on an Manhattan has a lot of orange and apple flavors as well as herbal notes to keep the rye interesting.

Catoctin Creek from Purcellville, VA, has a unique bite to its 100% rye formulation. It loves being mixed with amari like Ramazzotti, which gives this cocktail an orange flavor. Mt. Defiance Distillery makes a piquant apple brandy and wine-based vermouth that is tawny and sweet. Alone it doesn't carry off the cocktail, but with Ramazzotti it is nicely rounded with bitterness. Hella orange bitters tighten everything up, as does the orange zest.
  • 3 oz. Catoctin Creek rye
  • 1/2 oz. Mt. Defiance sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Ramazzotti
  • 3 dashes Hella orange bitters
  • orange zest
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange zest. 

Strega Daiquiri

I can't believe that this Daiquiri concept never came to me in all my mixing at home. Strega, instead of sugar syrup, is an excellent choice for making a flavored Daiquiri. You can't do it without rum, however. Flor de Cana Extra Seco is a good choice for that--a flavorful white rum that lends itself naturally to Daiquiris but doesn't fight the Strega.

This drinks departs so far from the traditional Daiquiri, and yet it is familiar. Lemon and orange juice replace lime. Orgeat replaces sugar syrup.

A rich orgeat is perfect in this cocktail. I'm surprised that more Daiquiris don't specify orgeat in some way. The balance of this drink is exceptional, between sweet and sour and bitter and nutty.
  • 1 oz. Strega
  • 1 oz. light rum (Flor de Cana Extra Seco used)
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. orgeat to taste
  • maraschino cherry
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Witch's Promise (Original Cocktail)

This cocktail is as good for summer months as it is in the fall and winter, provided you have the herbs for the garnish. I dedicated this drink to Jethro Tull's song by the same name in which the witch is looked for as a bringer of blessings as well as curses. The apearance of Strega (the witch's liqueur) is appropriate, but so are other medicinal ingredients.

This is the first time I used MurLarkey honey whiskey in a cocktail for this blog. This whiskey is sweet tasting but has very little sugar, as the honey comb is added to the barrel but spun out of the final product before bottling. It is made once a year in very small batches, so it is hard to come by. Fans in Virginia keep a lookout for when Papi harvests honey from his hives. There's lemon, tonic water, passion fruit syrup, and basil and dill as garnishes as well.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey Honey whiskey
  • 1 oz. Strega
  • 1/2 oz. passion fruit syrup
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • tonic water (Fever Tree light tonic used)
  • basil leaf and dill sprig (optional garnishes)
Combine the first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Double Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. Top with tonic water and stir gently. Garnish with herbs.

Bali Hai (Revisited)

I'm told that this pseudo-Tiki cocktail was just about everywhere back in the 1950s and1960s. That is probably because it is named after a song in South Pacific. The drink is very evocative of Hawaiian cocktails of that time, if a little bit too tart. The proportions in the New York Bartender's guide are all out of wack--not that they are themselves wrong, they just make enough for two drinks, and I'm sure that can't be right.

I've re-done this cocktail because I wanted to make use of Aguardiente. When originally researching this recipe, I thought that any white fruit or cane spirit would work for Aguardiente--a generic name for white alcohol in South America. But I've come to understand that the drink requires the sweet anise flavored spirit that is native to Columbia. Aguardiente is made from sugar cane and sweetened, so it really helps balance all the citrus in this recipe. I'm still including the recipe as it was originally printed with the caviat that it makes two servings.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Flor de Cana Extra Seco used)
  • 1 oz. Aguardiente
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. orgeat syrup
  • 1 tsp. grenadine (I recommend 2 tsp.)
  • chilled sparkling wine or champagne
Combine all ingredients except for sparkling wine in a blender with cracked ice. Blend on high for a few seconds and pour into a large hurricane glass or tiki mug, Top with sparkling wine and stir. Garnish liberally.

Bee Sting

This cocktail is easy to make and relies on the herbaceous Benedictine and the vanilla notes of bourbon to dress up ordinary orange juice. This is one of the few cocktails I've made with Ragged Branch bourbon from Charolottesville, VA.

This is not an original cocktail, nor is it a classic. It was created by Benedictine as a suggestion for using their spirit. Sometimes I find that they are really on the mark with their recipes. Other times, I feel that I'm better at mixing with the sweet liqueur. But when I'm pressed for options, I'll often take any suggestion availalble.
  • 1 oz. Bourbon (Ragged Branch wheated used)
  • 1 oz. Benedictine
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Garnish at will.