Christmas time calls for punch, and the best recipe comes not from a trendy speakeasy but a 17th century Englishwoman, Hannah Woolley. Her 1670 domestic-advice best-seller, The Queen-Like Closet, included a soul-warming mixture of Bordeaux, brandy, nutmeg, and lemon, which became a favourite of both the working class and the royal family.
The posh Punch Room in the London Edition Hotel is keeping the tradition alive by updating the classic recipe using a piquant Barolo Chinato and hearty merlot. They give it a drier flavour than the overly sweet, fruity profiles of most flowing bowls today.
Davide Segat, the Punch Room bar manager, says the ultra-smooth Hennessy Fine de Cognac rounds out the base, which is accented with nutmeg and the acidity of the lemon. A splash of soda water lends effervescence.
“It’s a delicious, wintery, quintessentially British drink,” he says.
Hannah Woolley Punch - Serves 10
17½ oz. merlot5 oz. Barolo Chinato7½ oz. Hennessy Fine de Cognac7½ oz. nutmeg syrup7½ oz. lemon juice10 oz. soda water
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir, and add a block of ice. Garnish glasses with lemon wheels, mint sprigs, red currant or white currant strings, and a dusting of nutmeg.
*To make nutmeg syrup: Add 1 lb. sugar, 17 oz. water, and the gratings of 1 nutmeg to a pan. Heat over low fire until dissolved and combined.
News by Bloomberg, edited by hospitality Ireland