I love weekend bartending. For four or six or eight people, it’s fun to make and shake. In fact, when I retire, if I retire that is, I plan on opening a B&B: a bar and brownie establishment. A good bourbon, neat, can go a long way paired with a deeply frosted brownie.
In the meantime, I keep my day job. And my weekend job of help Suzie when we party. So, I can handle those four+ people with ease. But, playing bartender for ten or more, well, that’s different. I end up wishing I had another pair of hands or so. I’m not well coordinated so quickly pouring and dashing among bottles can be a tad overwhelming. There are spills, and sticky juice and sugar on Suzen’s marble countertop.
Some sins are forgiven. Some are not. Some are just sticky.
To make beverage serving, and the construction feasible, it is time for punch. And when the summer days are hot, definitely time for punch. That picture above is meant to inspire your summer imagination. Avocadoes are destined for guac, or salsa, or salad, or to top off a trout.
The mangoes? Time to drink. This wonderful mango punch is fruity with a soft punch. There’s far more fruit juice here than rum. The result is pleasure without any sense of dizziness. There’s plenty in the outside world to make you dizzy or perplexed. What you need is something breezily sweet with just enough alcohol to let your relax and dream about life six months from now. You know, when it will be the middle of January and you won’t be drinking tropical juice with your rum! Just rum with rum.
This recipe comes from Punch by Colleen Mullaney, potent little book. As with any punch, experimentation and personalization is open for you. Peach juice can substitute for the apricot. Banana nectar for the guava. It’s tough to go wrong and easy to find your own way to satisfaction.
Yield: serves 10-12
- 4 cups mango nectar or juice
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 2 cups dark rum
- 1 cup light rum
- 1 cup guava nectar or juice
- 1 cup apricot juice
- ½ cup lime juice
Combine the ingredients in a punch bowl and mix well. Add either several cups of ice or an ice form to bring on the chill. Alternatively, refrigerate for at least two hours before serving, but still do with ice.
Source: Punch by Colleen Mullaney
Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/2.8, 1/100th second at ISO 100
I was making sangria this weekend and I had two assets: time and a great Cab.
Time was important because like many of you I am often tempted to “throw sangria together” at the last moment — or perhaps the last hour. I do give it time to chill, but not really the time to mellow and let all the flavors rise to the occasion and max the mix. I had four hours on Saturday.
And, for that wine, I had a bottle of Don Melchor, the superior Cabernet Sauvignon from Concha Y Toro in Chile. This wine is a sophisticated delight on its own, with fine cheese, or the intensity of a steak streaked with black and juicy red in the center.
Use that quality wine in a sangria? Yes. Definitely. Hell, yes. You are not in college anymore, you know. You’ve got 40 years left? Goodness, you have less than 16,000 nights of imbibing left. Don’t waste one precious opportunity. Sangria can be as wonderfully exciting and marvelous as any wine beverage if …
If you use time and use your ingredients to their full advantage. I had my Cab. I had a perfectly ripe mango. And I had a pint of peaking strawberries. One sangria technique, the quick one, is to cut up the fruit, dump it into the wine, perhaps add some sugar, and top it off with a quantity of something strong: say a cup of brandy. That’s the wrong way to go. You want to cut the fruit and let it macerate with some sugar and an appropriately selective liqueur. You do that for some time to extract juice, and therefore flavor, from the fruit.
That is the trick I employed here: use a different liqueur for each fruit. Literally, match the liqueur to the fruit. For the tropical mango, what better thing than Cachaca from Brazil. For the strawberries, Fragoli strawberry liqueur for the berries. The result? A densely, intensely flavorful sangria. Full of fruit notes that swirl in your mouth in great complexity. Berry then mango then back to berry. The flavors dash about, never competing, but surely reinforcing. And beneath it all is the base flavor of that lovely Chilean Cab.
Yield: 6 large portions
- 1 pint of strawberries, husked and halved
- ¼ cup of sugar
- ½ cup of Fragoli strawberry liqueur
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup of sugar
- ½ cup of Cachaca
- 1 bottle of Don Melchor
Place the strawberry halves in a small bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Top with the Fragoli, and stir to mix.
In a second bowl, place the mango slices. Sprinkle with sugar, top with the Cachaca and stir to mix. Cover both bowls and refrigerate for two hours.
Open the Don Melchor and pour into a pitcher. Empty the two fruit bowls into the pitcher and stir to mix. Refrigerate for two more hours.
Serve in chilled glasses adorned with strawberry halves or slice of lemon or lime.