Thursday, February 17, 2011

iced punch

4 oz Sugar
Peels of 1/2 Lemon
4 oz Water
Juice of 1 Lemon (2 oz)
6 oz Dry Light White Wine (or Champagne)
3 oz Batavia Arrack (or Santa Cruz Rum)
1 barspoon Maraschino Liqueur (1/8 oz)

Using a vegetable peeler, peel half of a lemon. Create an oleo saccharum by muddling lemon peels in sugar. Let sit for an hour with intermittent muddling and stirring to extract the citrus oils. Add water and juice and stir to dissolve the sugar. Strain into a bowl to remove pulp and peels. Add wine, Batavia Arrack, and Maraschino, mix, and stick in freezer for a few hours. Whisk to break up ice and pour into punch cups, champagne flutes, or other vessels. Recipe makes 2-4 servings depending on cup size.

Last Saturday, I wanted to try a wine-based mixed drink so I turned to my reprint of The Flowing Bowl. The one that seemed like a good starting point was the Iced Punch that called for a Rhine wine which is often interpreted as any dry, light white. I adapted the recipe in the book a few ways to make it more amenable. First, I cut the recipe back four fold since there would only be two of us partaking. Second, it called for the lemon rinds to be rubbed off on lump sugar; since our sugar is in granule form, I opted to extract the lemon oils through muddling the peels in the sugar. Lastly, the recipe called for an ""ice-cream freezer" to freeze the nonboozy ingredients and to mix in the rest of the ingredients as it turned. Instead, I took a chance that there was enough sugar and alcohol to prevent the punch from freezing solid if I just stuck the mix in the freezer, and I was correct -- while ice crystals did form, it was a manageable amount.
The concept of white wine and Batavia Arrack was not new to us for we had tried the White Wine Punch last year. For a wine this time, I went with Bear Flag's Soft White which I have had on its own a few times before. When the punch was served at freezer temperature, it had a delightful aroma of lemons and a light hogo-like note from the Batavia Arrack. The sip had an interesting textural component from the ice slurry and contained a semi-sweet lemon flavor. On the swallow, the flavors of the Batavia Arrack dominated and helped to dry out the drink on the finish; moreover, the white wine and a faint Maraschino note were also present on the swallow as well as the aftertaste. While substituting Champagne for white wine would produce a similar effect, using a Santa Cruz rum (a Virgin Island rum like Cruzan) would have produced a lot less distinctive of a result. Andrea commented that the punch reminded her of a hogo-laden Margarita or other Daisy. I replied that I could see why one would want to serve this punch as cold as possible for the Batavia Arrack went from really smooth to rather plasticky smelling as it warmed up.

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