Photo: LeNell Smothers
Swedish punsch is drank hot or cold in its homeland and can be found served alongside hearty pea soup. This Swedish liqueur is not only an ingredient in many old punch recipes, but also many cocktails, such as the Biffy with gin, lemon juice and apple brandy.
You may find a few brands across the ocean, including the Forgotten Flavours version, which earned 2009 Spirit of the Year from Mixology magazine.
Swedish brands like Facile or Carlshamn's still exist. Even extracts of Swedish Punsch became popular for homemade versions during a period in Sweden when alcohol taxes were high.
Here is a punch for you to experiment with that many consider similar to Swedish Punsch. Perhaps add in a pinch of spice, like ground cardamom seeds or freshly grated nutmeg and exchange the water with black tea.
IMPERIAL ARRACK PUNCH (as printed in the 1862 edition of Jerry Thomas' Bar-Tenders Guide)
Take 1 quart of old Batavia Arrack
1 pound of loaf-sugar
1 quart of boiling water
Cut the lemons into thin slices, and steep them in the Arrack for six hours. Remove the lemons without squeezing them.
Dissolve the sugar in the water, and add it while hot to the Arrack. Then let it cool. This makes a fine liqueur which should be thoroughly iced before serving.
Alabama-born LeNell Smothers defines herself first and foremost as a bartender, but she's been called many things -- most recently, the proprietress of Casa Cóctel with partner Demián Camacho Santa Ana. She's owned her own whiskey label, called Red Hook Rye, and has been recognized by her home state as an honorary Colonel. Other interests include gin, sin and men.