Though mostly relegated to history, punch has a long history as a party drink of choice. It's a product of the British colonization of India — a concoction for British East India Company sailors made from Indian liquor, citrus and spices, with tea or, later, wine and Champagne to keep the flavor from getting too sticky. Today, punch offers party planners a happy medium between the complexity of a cocktail and the ease of a mimosa. We spoke to three excellent Springs bartenders and asked for their favorite recipes, presented below for your perusal and, we hope, enjoyment.
Five Spice Pisco Punch
- Griffin Swartzell
- Five Spice Pisco Punch
Emillio Ortiz, general manager/bar manager of 503W, cites a recipe he got from the Death and Company bar in New York as inspiration for this drink, which employs pisco, a brandy from the winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. "I added some nuances to it and made it different from the original recipe by adding bubbly and five-spice powder [reflecting 503W's Asian fusion style]," he says.
20 white sugar cubes
18 oz. club soda
18 oz. strawberry- and pineapple-infused pisco
3 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
6 oz. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. five-spice powder
12 oz. Brut Champagne
12 strawberry slices, for garnish
12 lime wheels, for garnish
For strawberry- and pineapple-infused pisco:
4 c. pineapple, cubed
4 c. strawberries, sliced
1 bottle (750 mL.) pisco brandy
For infused pisco:
In a sealable glass container, combine fruit and pisco. Cover and refrigerate for five days. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and store. Note: This recipe makes more infused pisco than required for one batch of punch.
In a pitcher, muddle the sugar cubes with 3 oz. of club soda until the sugar is fully broken up. Add the pisco, liqueur, lime juice and five-spice powder, then fill the pitcher three-quarters full of ice cubes. Stir until cold, then strain into a punch bowl with a large block of ice. Top with the remaining club soda and the Brut Champagne. Garnish with strawberries and lime wheels, and serve with a ladle and punch glasses.
- Griffin Swartzell
Warehouse wunderkind and executive bartender Stephen Winchell draws from a whiskey smash and a vermouth cobbler — Prohibition-era standards — for this drink. "The strong bourbon backbone provides a perfect canvas for the fresh fruit and Punt e Mes to marry," he explains.
24 oz. Weller Bourbon (or your favorite bourbon, preferably 90 proof)
12 oz. Punt e Mes (or Carpano Antica)
8 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
8 oz. raw sugar simple syrup
32 strawberries, cored and thinly sliced
2 star anise (optional)
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (optional)
24 oz. club soda or dry prosecco
For raw sugar simple syrup:
8 oz. raw sugar
8 oz. hot water
For simple syrup:
Combine 8 oz. raw sugar and 8 oz. hot water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then let cool. Note: This recipe makes more syrup than required for one batch of punch.
In a 2-quart glass container, combine all ingredients except for the club soda/prosecco. Cover the container so it's airtight, then refrigerate for 24 hours. To serve, strain into glasses with ice, then finish with a splash of club soda or dry prosecco.
Derby Girl Punch
- Griffin Swartzell
Sean Fitzgerald, co-owner of The Wobbly Olive and The Collective, came up with this drink by accident — he grabbed brandy instead of whiskey while making a "Trust me, I'm Irish," which blends Irish whiskey with peach and ginger. "Once I balanced the spirit levels with the sweetness, it turned into one of my favorite cocktails," he says. While this one breaks tradition and drops the spice, Fitzgerald suggests infusing cloves into the simple syrup for a fun variation.
4 oz. Asbach Uralt Brandy
4 oz. Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum
3 oz. Rothman and Winter Peach Liqueur
2 oz. Curaçao
4 oz. fresh lemon juice
4 oz. simple syrup
4 oz. Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer
4 oz. sparkling water
Mint for garnish
Peach slices for garnish
Stir all ingredients together, then pour into a pitcher with ice. Garnish with mint leaves and peach slices.