Monday, January 11, 2010


1 oz Swedish Punsch (homemade)
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 dash Fraise Syrup (1 tsp homemade Raspberry Syrup)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

This past week, I finally gave up hope that Eric Seed or other would start importing Swedish Punsch any time soon and decided to make my own. Part was giving up hope, and part was to quiet Andrea's pleadings. Swedish Punsch (sometimes called Caloric Punsch) is a traditional liqueur in Sweden made from Batavia Arrack (a rum-like spirit from Indonesia, not the anise-flavored Arak from the Middle East), sugar, and flavorings. These flavorings can include citrus peels, brewed tea, and spices, and the various additives work to soften the spicy and smoky Batavia Arrack into something more manageable to most people's palates. In fact, it can be rather drinkable on its own.

The Swedish Punsch recipe I followed was mainly Erik Ellestad's with a little of Deep Ellum's (which appeared in the January/February 2009 Imbibe magazine). Ellestad cites his recipe's influences as Jerry Thomas' Arrack Punch and United Service Punch. Essentially, the recipe was a one-quarter scale of Ellestad's with the rum and tea choices being Appleton V/X and Oolong, respectively. Deep Ellum's recipe had a greater amount of cardamom and included nutmeg; therefore, I increased the cardamom amount five fold and grated some nutmeg (here 1/2 tsp, or 2 tsp to the full scale recipe). The scaled down version made around 850 mL (a bottle and a touch more).

For a recipe idea to use the Punsch, I remember Erik mentioning that the Diki Diki was one of his favorites. The drink appears in Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and is mainly Calvados with a small amount of Swedish Punsch and grapefruit juice. In order to showcase the Punsch more, I flipped through the Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 which is a rather good source of Swedish Punsch recipes. The Dauphin, besides being about half Swedish Punsch, stood out for it used the same pairing of Punsch and grapefruit juice so the flavor combination must be something special.

Indeed, the spice and lemon rind flavors in the Punsch paired up well with the grapefruit. Specifically, it seemed like the cardamom was the magical element in the mix to make the pairing shine. The sip started with a sweet raspberry and citrus fruit flavor and ended with a dry tea swallow. Moreover, the rum notes stood out at the end of the sip as well. I think for a next Swedish Punsch recipe, I will try to find something a bit drier for the Dauphin's balance was on the sweet side.


Jenn said...

Thanks for this post, Fred! I am totally in love with Swedish Punsch. This has inspired me to try and make it myself. A good project for the upcoming long weekend...I'll let you know how things go.

frederic said...

While Max's recipe in Imbibe magazine is rather tasty (you mention it in your post), it lists a shelf life of 2 weeks in the fridge which is great if you're a bar and going through the stuff that quickly, but not that great at home unless you're entertaining a crowd.

The Ellestad recipe is room temperature stable for extended periods of time, so it's the one I recommend.

eas said...

To quote the good Reverend Jackson, "Up with hope, down with dope!" The Swedish Punsch is coming, taking forever, but it will be coming sometime later this year...inshallah...

frederic said...

Cool! Look forward to it.

Any word on artisanal Creme de Noyeaux?

Unknown said...

Actually Caloric Punsch (properly Cederlunds Caloric) is a brand of swedish punsch. More brands are (of course) listed at wikipedia: