Your National Punch Day Primer

Your National Punch Day Primer
Need another reason to celebrate? September 20 is National Punch Day. This party-perfect drink was brought to the Western world around the time of Christopher Columbus, discovered by English sailors during voyages to India.

A true punch is composed of five main components: sugar, water, citrus, spice and alcohol. In fact, the word “punch” was derived from the Hindi word “panch,” meaning “five.” (And we always thought the name stemmed from some famous fight where a bride’s uncle had too many ladlefuls at a wedding and knocked out the groom’s father during the reception. Could've happened, right?)

“Punch is the original mixed drink,” says cocktail historian David Wondrich. As Indian spice and Caribbean sugar cane began to flow through the New World trade routes, this pleasant concoction caught on, offering early Americans an alternate, more palatable way to imbibe than swigging straight liquor. The easy recipes and simple mixology allowed punch to catch on, and for several centuries now, a bowlful of booze has been a staple at events of all kinds. Recently, it has enjoyed a renaissance, and punches can be ordered at an assortment of bars and restaurants, as well as enjoyed at home.

Ready to try your hand at punch preparation? Below are a couple of recipes by Phil Ward of New York speakeasy Death & Co. Let’s get this party started.

Goodnight Moon Punch
2 oz. aged rum (such as Flor de Caña 7-year Grand Reserve)
4 sugar cubes
3 oz. club soda
2 whole cloves
1 pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1 oz. lemon juice
2 oz. apple juice
2 dashes of Peychaud bitters
(single-serving quantities; scale as needed)


Dissolve the sugar cubes in 1 oz. of club soda (this generally involves muddling to help process)
Muddle the cloves with the sugar cubes
After the sugar cubes and cloves are muddled/dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients one at a time and stir as added
Add ice once all of the ingredients have been added and stirred
Stir the punch until it is chilled
Strain into a glass or punch bowl (depending on portion size), top with 2 oz. club soda and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks

Cardamom and Pop Punch
2 oz. aged rum 
4 sugar cubes
3 green cardamom pods (can be found at any spice shop)
3 oz. club soda
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. grapefruit juice
1 dash of Regan's Orange bitters
(single-serving quantities; scale as needed)


Dissolve the sugar cubes in 1 oz. of soda water (this generally involves muddling to help process)
Muddle the cardamom pods with the sugar cubes
After the sugar cubes and cloves are muddled/dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients one at a time and stir as added
Add ice once all of the ingredients have been added and stirred
Stir the punch until it is chilled
Strain the punch into a glass or punch bowl (depending on portion size), top with 2 oz. club soda and garnish with lime wheels
 
Photo via Flickr user Pleuntje
 

Tags: Cocktails, Holiday, Rum
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