It seems like I’m the latest person to jump on the make-your-own Swedish Punsch bandwagon. I’ve been wanting to make it since last year, when I managed to get a used copy of Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and found that not a single liquor store in the DC area (which has some awesome stores for vintage ingredients – srsly, check out Ace Beverages if you’re ever in the area) carried or had even heard of the stuff. I was going to wait until closer to Christmas to make it, in order to give bottles to deserving little girls and boys around the holiday (1), but I made a weekend visit to The Corkscrew, Urbana’s most fun wine store, and saw a bottle of Batavia-Arrack sitting there just daring me to buy it. I need to stop losing bets with liquor. Now I just need to run out to Friar Tuck’s, Savoy’s cheapest liquor store, to get a couple of bottles of El Dorado’s 5-year, and I will be ready to start.
While I haven’t gotten around to making Swedish Punsch yet (I’m using the recipe recommended by Stevi Deter of Two at the Most, which comes originally from Erik Ellestad at Underhill-Lounge – clearly academia has made my need for attribution reach a critical and awful level), I did sneak a taste of the Batavia-Arrack, and I have to agree with Stevi – there’s no way I could drink it on my own. Oddly enough, the taste reminded me really strongly of something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until later that evening, when I was having a little bit of after-dinner sherry, which immediately recalled the Batavia-Arrack to me, for some reason. Then it struck me: the Batavia-Arrack has that weird raisin-y, ester-y burn that grappa or marc have, and which always tastes like instant headache to me. The sherry has it too, but it blends very well, there, with the sweet-raisin-mesifuran-oxidized taste that sherry has. I think the common thread must be a fusel alcohol taste, since a high fusel alcohol content certainly would lead to a nice headache, and they are reputed to have fruity, sweet, solvent-y smells. If anyone else has noticed this similarity (or, on the other hand, thinks I am full of it), please let me know – I’m kind of just making this up as I go along.
Anyhow, I will post about my adventures with Swedish Punsch as soon as they occur. I think I also probably need to get a camera, because what’s the point of making awesome drinks if you can’t prove they look awesome, too? Now I just need to stop spending money on liquor long enough to do so.
(1) Haha, just kidding, federal authorities! I only give out booze to nice little boys and girls who are older than 21. Please don’t send me to the Guantanamos.