Garden & Gun (December 2013)
Sure, chicken is in our holiday survival bunker.
But so is whiskey. And it's already come in handy this year.
For Thanksgiving last week, we stayed in D.C. Our friends Trevor and Owen offered to host, and a crowd of nine of us gathered for dinner. We were asked to bring cocktails and dessert. We considered a second run at the pumpkin-y Pilgrimage Cocktail, which we had liked very much. But we always love an opportunity to try a new recipe.
So we chose this Holiday Whiskey Punch from Garden & Gun.
First, let's talk about the magazine. How is it, exactly, that we haven't yet talked about Garden & Gun with you??
We made mention of it over a year ago, and haven't quite circled back to it yet. If you haven't seen an issue before, the content is a mix of food, sport and Southern culture. There's not quite as much food in each issue as we might like (which is perhaps one of the reasons we haven't cooked from it before). But the magazine is beautiful and the photographry is absolutely georgous. If you have someone on your holiday list who loves magazines but might enjoy something a bit more unusual, give them Garden & Gun. Seriuosly. We have so many friends who have subscribed in the past few years, and they all love it as much as we do.
Don't worry, though -- there are no guns in this punch. Let's talk about it.
This is a simple punch, remniscent of a light take on an Old Fashioned. Our favorite tip from this recipe is in the early prep: peel lemons, toss the lemon peel with sugar, and let it sit. The longer it sits, the more fragrant it gets as the sugar begins to break down and melt.
The waiting is the hardest part of this recipe. The rest comes together in mere moments, making it a perfect libation for a holiday party. Dump the lemon sugar in a punchbowl. Add whiskey, bitters, water and ice. And that's it: holiday whiskey punch.
Keep this one your back pocket for an impromptu gathering. Or heck, give your friends a call and ask them to swing by tonight for some punch. This one will please.
For the oleosaccharum:
1 cup sugar
For the punch:
1 750-ml bottle of rye whiskey
12 hard shakes of Angostura bitters
Large block of ice
Peel the lemons with a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible. Combine the lemon peel and sugar in a bowl, and muddle them together with a cocktail muddler or a heavy wooden spoon. Allow the mixture to rest, covered, for an hour or more, or until the sugar has melted. Stir again before using. (Alternately, you can combine the peel and sugar in a vacuum-seal bag, and allow them to break down for 4 to 6 hours.)
Add the oleosaccharum to your punch bowl, including the peel. Add the whiskey and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Add bitters, stir, then stir in 750 ml of very cold water. (Use the empty whiskey bottle for measuring.) Add the ice, and stir a few times to further cool the punch. Ladle into glasses to serve.