Frontier Psychiatrist

Frontier Mixology: Regent’s Punch

Posted on: January 7, 2011

The reign of King George III spanned such epochal events as the loss of the American colonies, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic Wars.  Old George had a troubling habit of descending into madness, yet not dying outright.  As a result, his son George IV spent much of his life in the at-bat circle.  In a particularly worrisome bout of insanity, George III was found addressing an oak tree as the King of Prussia.  Over time, Parliamentary mandarins devised an eminently practical solution whereby the crown prince was installed as Prince Regent, with Prime Minister doing the actual governing.  As for the Prince Regent, he was left to the life of a gourmand and a voluptuary.

Beset by a post-prandial torpor that not even a brisk constitutional could repair

As a first-rate consumer of vice, the Prince Regent was fond of women above all else.  Indeed, his carnal desires remained unchecked despite his concomitant affection for drink.  In particular, he enjoyed copious quantities of his favorite punch, a bowl of which was kept on the sideboard at all times.

There are numerous recipies for what came to be known as Regent’s Punch, but,  given the deserved buzz generated by his recent book on the historical scope of punch, David Wondrich’s procedure is the one the Frontier Mixologist used to properly mark the recent new year’s festivities.

Regent’s Punch (courtesy of David Wondrich)

2 bottles of dry sparkling wine (sugg. Gruet Brut)

8 oz. brandy (sugg. Pierre Ferrand Ambre)

2 oz. Jamaica rum (sugg. ¼ Smith & Cross and ¾ Angostura 1919)

2 oz. Batavia arrack

2 oz. Marashino liqueur

3 lemons

2 oranges

4 oz. raw sugar

2 cups of green tea (two tea bags steeped for 5 min.)

Take off the peel of the all the citrus with a vegetable peeler, being careful not to get too much of the white pith.  Place the peels in a large glass bowl with the sugar.  Using a muddler or wooden spoon, mash the peels with the sugar until the sugar is wet with the fruits’ oil.  This is the oleo-saccharum, a critical step in many punches worth learning.  Pour the hot tea over the sugar and peels, mix to combine, and add the juice from the citrus.  Strain the result through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher, and allow to cool slightly.  Add the brandy, rum, arrack, and Marashino, stirring to combine.  Let this mixture cool fully, and refrigerate until you are ready to serve, at least three hours.

For service, combine the mixture with the two bottles of chilled sparkling wine in a punch bowl.  Add a large block of ice, which can be made by filling a cake pan with water, letting it freeze solid, and then releasing the ice by running the back of the pan under hot running water.  Throw a couple of lemon slices in the punch bowl, if so desired.  Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.Admittedly, the procedure is bit more involved than our usual stir with ice and strain.  It’s worth it, however.

Some are already heralding 2011 as the year of punch.  While we might not go that far, you will be seeing more and more punches at high-end cocktail bars.  Traditional, properly-made punches have all the complexity of a good cocktail, and are perfect for parties.  Most of the work can be done ahead of time, and they raise the profile of any occasion.  Further, as the ice melts over time the punch’s booziness is reduced, which is a boon since your guests’ booziness will only increase as the party wears on.  Although the holiday season is now past, there are still many celebrations to be had.  A flowing bowl of Regent’s Punch for MLK day, perhaps?  Another batch to mark the Year of the Rabbit?  Gung hay fat choy!

Drink up,

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1 Response to "Frontier Mixology: Regent’s Punch"

[…] Instead, check out Serious Eats for tips on making drinks in advance.  Being Negroni fans, we especially like their recipe for a bottled Negroni.  And remember, you can always make punch. […]

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