Punch Drunk Love


During the holiday madness, I find it best to find a balance between non-sober moments and some rather sobering ones.

For the latter, I recommend catching up on your reading. In particular, Michael Pollan’s very good essay, “Our Decrepit Food Factories” in last Sunday’s Times Magazine. It lays out the ramifications of the use of antibiotics in factory farming. This is one way to sober up—really quickly.

But it is the season, after all, which means good cheer is in order—you can't get too glum. For this, there's my new favorite way to be not so sober at all. And that’s the rum punch that I cribbed from a recipe of Scott Beattie’s, the lauded mixologist at Cyrus in Healdsburg. While Beattie does it very properly, I had to be a bit more guerilla about things since I was down in LA last weekend, helping my friend Danielle put together her 35th birthday bash and about 100-plus people were showing up—oh, in a few hours. I multiplied the recipe by eight and we served it in a huge glass jar we bought at Target.

The punch did the job: Me and Danielle at her big bash.

Here’s a rough version of my recipe. I’d say the photo demonstrates the positive results. It was a wig party, so my Run, Lola, Run hair has to do with that more than the cocktail. But the punch certainly had a kick to it.

Spiced Rum Punch with Blood-Orange Bitters

Stirrings blood-orange bitters are available at BevMo. I used Odwalla tangerine juice and lemonade. Although it’s not necessary, I made infused the simple syrup with lemon zest, some nutmeg and cinnamon, then strained it into the punch. Float the whole thing with slices of oranges, blood oranges and thick peels of lemon zest. Serve over ice or try it warm. This should make enough for about 20 servings, but don't hold me to it.

1 quart tangerine juice
1 quart lemonade (or better yet, half a quart lemonade and half a quart freshly-squeezed lemon juice)
1 big bottle o’ rum (we were on a budget, so I used half a bottle of Captain Morgan’s spiced rum and half a bottle of Meyer’s dark rum—I believe a 1.75 litre bottle, the hefty one with a handle)
Stirrings blood orange bitters, to taste
Simple syrup to taste

Mix everything together, add ice. Have fun, but not too much.

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