March 22, 2010

MxMo XLVII: Punch

0EE1C1B7-51D9-464A-9FD4-3362608E69F5.jpgThe challenge posed by Hobson's Choice for this month's Mixology Monday is punch! Now, I used to consider myself quite the expert on punch, back when I was about 10, and my grandmother and I used to mix up non-alcoholic punches for New Year's Eve. I knew that it had to be sweet, but not overly so. Tangy, but not too sour. Fizzy was good. A sort of creamy mouth-feel was sought after, but not a prerequisite. I was, as it turns out, looking for all the criteria of a great punch with alcohol, as well, though I wouldn't know it for another decade-plus.

In trying to come up with an original punch (or, if not original, at least one I hadn't read about specifically), I went back to the well of all punch wisdom, and dredged up that hoary old formula; 1 part sour, 2 parts sweet, 3 parts strong and 4 parts weak (plus spice, as Alton Brown recently pointed out on "Good Eats"). Well, being the crazy tinkerer that I am, I decided to take a few liberties with the formulation. I was remarkably faithful, but in lieu of using grated nutmeg or cinnamon for the spice, as is tradition, I used a homemade tincture of mine.

Then, of course, I struggled with a name. My concoction draws from so many disparate influences, it's really hard to find an overarching theme. Finally I decided to name it after the tincture I used to add that final bit of flavor, and thus I give you, for March's Mixology Monday:
Donn's Gin Punch

1 part lime juice
scant 2 parts limoncello, plus a dash of Maraschino liqueur
3 parts London dry gin
4 parts ginger beer
2 dashes per cup Donn's Tinc
1 dash per cup Blood Orange syrup (optional, for color. I used Torani's version.)

Combine all save for Donn's Tinc with a large block of ice in a punchbowl. Dash in Donn's Tinc to each cup, then ladle in punch mixture. If using Blood Orange syrup, add dash after punch has been ladled into cup. For an individual serving, assume 1 part is 1/2 ounce.
I think this is a wonderfully balanced drink. Sweet, sour, spicy from the ginger, botanical from the gin, ever-so-slightly fizzy, and just a bit of funk from that wonderful Maraschino. I'm tremendously pleased with how this turned out, and I think it could make a nice change from the classic rum- or bourbon-based punch. Come summertime, it certainly would make for a refreshing take on this classic concoction.

Donn's Gin Punch


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