Saturday, March 22, 2014

west indies punch

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXXIII) was picked by Craig of the A World of Drinks blog. The theme he chose was "Preserves" which is perfect for this time of year when the ground has not yet even sprouted the beginnings of this year's harvest; instead, it will be utilizing the flavors of the other seasons through preservation techniques like syrups, shrubs, and jellies. Craig elaborated on the concept by describing, "For this month's challenge I would like to take us back to the humble beginnings of the cocktail bar, the days when bartenders didn't have he luxury of daily deliveries of ingredients from around the world. In these times bartenders would have been uncertain when they would again have the privilege to work with special ingredients so would naturally try to make the most of them... Such methods of preservation such as syrups and preserves have been staple ingredients behind the bar ever since, while others such as shrubs and sherbets were relatively short lived. The aim of the challenge is to go back to the days of the preserve, pick an ingredient, seasonal or not and treat it as if you won't be seeing it again for quite some time. Syrups, sorbets, jam, shrubs and the like are all fair game, anything that will preserve the integral character of your favourite ingredient."
Throughout the years of my home bar, I have made many syrups, shrubs, and infusions, and I have continued on as well in my work bar (although most of the routine work is done by the barbacks and the experimental preparations by the bar manager). In thinking about preserved flavors, I looked to what recipes I could find in the literature and compare it to what I had at hand in the fridge. My recipe search found my way over to the 1946 Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink; actually, I was looking for a drink to make that night, but I bookmarked the page for the West Indies Punch for Mixology Monday to make later in the week. The punch called for guava marmalade, and I have been curious about preserved guava ever since I had Dave Delaney's Groovy Child at the Citizen in Worcester and noted how well the lime and guava partnered. I bought my own guava paste (more of a pectin-ized block than a jelly) shortly after to make the Barbadoes Punch, the 1862 Jerry Thomas recipe that influenced Delaney. I have since used the guava paste over the last 3 years in the Alderman's Punch and Fifth Avenue Hotel Ice Punch, and the block still looked as good as ever. So instead of preserving flavor from the season, this is preserving flavor over several years in a fruit product that I purchased at a local market that no longer exists today.
West Indies Punch
• 1/2 pound Sugar (1/2 oz)
• 1 pint Green Tea (1 oz)
• 1 dozen Limes (3/4 oz juice + 3/4 of a lime shell)
• 1 cup Guava Marmalade (1/2 oz Guava Paste)
• 2 cup Boiling Water (1 oz)
• 1/2 bottle Dark Jamaican Rum (3/4 oz Coruba)
• 1/2 bottle Light Jamaican Rum (3/4 oz Appleton V/X)
• 1 pint Cognac (1 oz Foret)
• 1 bottle Madeira (1 1/2 oz Blandy's Verdelho)
Dissolve sugar into tea. Juice limes and add juice and shells into the tea. Dissolve the guava marmalade in boiling water and combine with the tea. Add rest of the ingredients and let stand overnight. Remove the lime shells and pour over ice in a punch bowl (here, made at 1/16th scale and poured over a large cube in a rocks glass). Let chill.
The West Indies Punch shared a funky rum and fruity aroma. As before, the lime and citrussy guava flavors elegantly paired on the sip. Next, the swallow began with a fruity and funky rum flavor that ended with minty cinnamon-like spice, guava, and green tea notes. Overall, the recipe as well as the overnight blending of flavors led to a rather smooth drink where no one note stood out as all that dominant. Pleasing yet flavorful, the way punch ought to be.

So thank you to Craig of A World of Drinks for picking the theme and running this month's show, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the spirit of the event alive!

1 comment:

Dagreb said...

That is tremendous preservation! Maybe we should all add guava jelly to our 72 hour preparednesss kits. :)