Wednesday, April 19, 2017

:: swedish punsch cheat sheet ::

Here is a primer on how to use Swedish punsch in cocktails. First what is Swedish punsch (since this is the #1 question I get asked about our cocktail menu at work)?

As punch was still gaining steam into the 19th century, people found less time or had less skill for making bowls of it, so distilleries and compounders began offering punch concentrates. Besides this Swedish version, there were domestic ones like Hub Punch here in Boston and international ones like Panama Punch and Dutch Rum Punch. With a little bit of sparkling wine, lemonade, or sparkling water (or a combination thereof) -- voilà, punch is served!

Some historians have traced Swedish punsch back to the 1730s when the Swedish East India company started bringing in Batavia Arrack, a rum-like spirit, from Indonesia. The pre-bottled punch began to be produced about a century later in the 1840s. In Sweden, the punch is often served as a Hot Toddy, but the bottled version promoted its use in chilled formulations. Swedish punsch began to catch on with cocktail bartenders around the turn of the century in 1900 and this lasted until Prohibition. There was also a later blip during the early 1940s when perhaps some ingredients got scarce during World War II, so Swedish punsch was found to be a good substitute such as for Lillet in the Corpse Reviver #2. Swedish punsch mostly disappeared from the market until 2012 when Haus Alpenz began importing the Kronan brand. Perhaps starting in the late 00s, cocktail bloggers and bartenders such as Erik Ellestad as he made his way through the Savoy Cocktail Book needed Swedish punsch and began concocting their own using Haus Alpenz's Batavia Arrack van Oosten. Over time, the recipes began to approximate the product still being produced in Sweden; however, the Swedish brands were only available through suitcase import. The first Boston recipe that I recorded was in 2008 with The Bohannon and I had started to make my own at the end of 2009. Now, most bars purchase Kronan instead of making their own mix.

While I have tasted other brands (that one bartender utilized to nudge his formulation in line with what the traditional flavor balance should be), most of my deductions have been made initially with my home version and later supported by the Kronan product. Many of these flavor combinations presented below were figured out in the 1930s such as in the Savoy Cocktail Book and the Café Royal Cocktail Book, whereas others such as Campari were figured out more recently.

• Lillet & Cocchi Americano: Metexa, Chutes & Ladders
• Passion Fruit: Puates Delight, Port of Goteborg
• Apricot Liqueur: Havana Cocktail, Cedar, Coronian
• Créme de Peche: One Way
• Curaçao: Corpse Reviver #2b, Royal Wedding
• Yellow Chartreuse: Van Dieman
• Campari: Poppin' Tags, Deck Hand, Barefoot in the Dark, Sleeping with Strangers
• Crème de Cacao: Battle Over Dutch, Swedish Sweet Tart
• Ginger: Haunted House
• Cinnamon: Oaxacan Punch, Everybody Wants to Rule the World
• Pimm's #1: Pimmeron, Dogger Bank
• Tequila and Mezcal: Metexa, Tainted Love

An after thought post making the image:
• Apple brandy and Calvados: Cason Cocktail
• Also: sloe gin, grenadine, absinthe, sherry, and cherry liqueur

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