Every Friday, Cocktails, 365 offers up a summary of questions we’ve received (and answered) in the spirit and cocktail realm from people around the country!
Welcome to the first-ever edition of Post the Publican – a weekly column where we summarize the questions we’ve been asked throughout the week across our social networks!
Rafael G. – What’s the best type of and brand of glass for cocktails if you had to choose one general, all-purpose one?
M. Vierthaler – In general, we advice that you get the appropriate glass for each cocktail, as the shape of glasses can actually have an impact on the taste of the spirit/cocktail. However, you can’t wrong with a solid set of rocks glasses. They’re versatile, and you really convert just about any cocktail into “on the rocks.” As for brands, we’re particularly fond of Riedel. They made their name with wine glasses, but their other glassware for the bar is outstanding!]
Mason Y. – What is the best recipe for a warm, festive cocktail?
M. Vierthaler – If you have the time, you can’t go wrong with the Dicken’s Punch. It’s a delicious, warm, festive cocktail that’s great for large groups. Plus, you set that shit on fire, so you have the extra “wow” factor. Just make sure you have plenty of room to avoid any Michael Jackson Pepsi accidents. (Recipe is posted below)
Recipe via Esquire
Step 1: Three hours before your party, peel 3 lemons with a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler, trying to end up with three long spirals of peel. Put them in a 3- or 4-quart fireproof bowl with 3/4 cup demerara sugar or other raw sugar. Muddle the peels and the sugar together and let sit.
Talking Points: One of the secrets of punch making is to use the fragrant, sweet oil that resides in lemon peels as the sugar extract. The resulting sugar-oil mix (“oleo-saccharum”) adds body to the punch.
Step 2: Also before your party, squeeze enough lemons to make 3/4 cup strained juice. Put this in a cup and refrigerate it. Measure into one container 1 cup VSOP-grade cognac and in another container combine 1 1/4 cups mellow amber rum, such as Mount Gay Eclipse or Angostura 1919, and 1 1/4 cups funky, strong (more than 55 percent alcohol) Jamaican rum, such as Smith & Cross.
Talking Points: The cognac is for body and smoothness, the strong rum for bouquet and (frankly) flammability, and the other rum for taming the strong one.
Step 3: Set 1 quart water to boil and put the bowl containing the lemon peels and sugar on a wooden cutting board or other heat-resistant surface in a spot where everyone can gather around. When the water boils, turn it off, gather your guests around the bowl, and pour in the cognac and rum, noting what you’re adding and why.
Step 4: With a long-handled barspoon, remove a spoonful of the rum-cognac mixture and set it on fire. Return it to the bowl, using it to ignite the rest.
Stir with a ladle or long-handled spoon, attempting to dissolve the sugar. Let burn for 2 or 3 minutes, occasionally lifting one of the lemon peels up so people can admire the flames running down it.
Talking Points: You’re setting the punch alight not because it looks cool but to burn off some of the more volatile elements of the alcohol. That’s the story, anyway.
Step 5: Extinguish the flames by covering the bowl with a tray, and add the reserved lemon juice and the boiling water. (For cold punch, add 3 cups cold water, stir, and slide in a 1-quart block of ice, easily made by freezing a quart bowl of water for 24 hours.)
Step 6: Grate fresh nutmeg over the top and ladle out in 3-oz servings.
Skyler B. – What’s a great holiday shot?
M. Vierthaler – While I tend to bag on shots quite a bit, there are a few that we keep in our memory banks for occasions such as these. One of our favorites is the Toasted shot. Equal parts Fireball Whisky and amaretto.