History of US Whiskey Seminar with Dr. Dennis Pogue

“I would beg leave to suggest the propriety of erecting Public Distilleries in different States.  The benefits arising from moderate use of strong Liquour, have been experienced in All Armies, and are not to be disputed.” George Washington 1777

On January 17 the Museum of the American Cocktail found itself at the Warehouse Theatre in Washington, DC for a presentation by Dr. Dennis J. Pogue, Vice President for Preservation at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, and Gardens. Dr. Pogue featured his book Founding Spirits, a history of the American whiskey industry. The book also informs readers about George Washington’s successful business in whiskey distillation noting that his farm at Mount Vernon at one point made more money from whiskey than it did from farming. Dr. Pogue was joined by Phil Greene, Founding Member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, and Derek Brown of The Passenger and Columbia Room and member of the Board of Directors of the Museum of the American Cocktail, who prepared four whiskey-based cocktails for guests.

To start, the audience was presented with some “American Whiskey Punch,” a recipe developed by cocktail historian David Wondrich (recipe below), who is also a Contributing Scholar and member of the Board of Advisors of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Its ingredients of Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey, sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice and water is a simple yet balanced flavor of sweet and sour, complemented by the rye’s spicy and woody notes.

In addition, Derek Brown demonstrated how he makes an Old Fashioned (recipe below) explaining that it has the original components of the first cocktail medleys, those being a spirit, sugar, water and bitters. He went on to say that many believe that is how the Old Fashioned got its name in that it is prepared in the “old fashioned” style.

Derek Brown prepares an Old Fashioned.

Dr. Pogue explained to the audience that George Washington’s distillery, which began in the in the late 1790s, was the largest in the country at the time. Most distilleries were very small in nature serving immediate, local markets. Washington was skeptical at first in investing in whiskey production and sought advice from his friends and colleagues. In a letter to Washington in 1797, John Fitzgerald, referring to James Anderson who would become Washington’s distillation manager, stated:

“As I have no doubt Mr. Anderson understands the Distillation of Spirit from Grain I cannot hesitate in my opinion that it might be carried on to great advantage on your Estate … as to a Sale of the Whiskey there can be no doubt if the Quantity was ten times as much as he can make provided it is of good Quality.”

Dr. Dennis Pogue

Once George Washington began distilling whiskey, he produced rye, as it was the most popular at the end of the 18th Century. His consisted of 60% rye, 35% corn and 5% malted barley and yeast to ferment. In Washington’s last year of life he produced 10,500 gallons of rye sold at 60 cents per gallon, resulting in a profit of $7500 in 1799, sold mainly to his thirsty local community.

Up until the US Revolution rum had been the spirit of choice. But after the US Revolution the supply of rum, coming mainly from the British controlled Caribbean, was disrupted. Whiskey quickly replaced rum and became quite popular as it was cheaper and contained a higher alcohol content. By 1810 there were 3500 whiskey distilleries in Virginia alone. Most were only small operations in which farmers would turn excess grain into alcohol. Washington’s whiskey and most others at the time were not aged producing a clear spirit that could move quickly to sale. Not until the mid-19th Century was whiskey aged giving it the distinctive color and flavor we know today.

During his portion of the presentation, Phil Greene presented what he called the New Orleans Cocktail Trinity. Pointing to a map of the French Quarter, he explained how three classic New Orleans drinks all were born within footsteps of each other, near the corner of Royal and Iberville.  Indeed, the original Sazerac House was located on Royal between Canal and Iberville, the Vieux Carre (recipe below) was created at the Monteleone, on Royal just across Iberville, and if you walk up Iberville toward Bourbon you’ll pass the former site of the La Louisiane (recipe below), home of the drink of the same name.  Phil discussed how each drink resembles the other, one swapping out one ingredient for another, or sharing common ingredients.  But all three are unique, not to mention delicious.

Phil demonstrated how to make a Sazerac (technique and recipe below) which like the Old Fashioned is composed of original cocktail parts of spirit, sugar, water and bitters with its use of Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey, Peychaud’s bitter, simple syrup and ice with the addition of Herbisaint/Absinthe, in this case Pernod enhancing the cocktail with a thin layer of anise flavor and aroma.

Phil Greene adds a bit of Pernod in demonstrating the Sazerac.

Phil also discussed another rye whiskey classic, the Deshler (recipe below).  It’s not as well-known as some of the other classics, but it’s enjoying a bit of a renaissance.  Like the Sazerac and Vieux Carre it contains Peychaud’s Bitters, but also the spice and botanicals of Dubonnet Rouge, offset by the slight sweetness of Cointreau.  It’s a fairly easy drink to make and is holding up well, in spite of its age (it will turn 100 later this decade).

David Wondrich’s American Whiskey Punch:

Muddle one cup sugar with the peel of two lemons. Add 4 oz. lemon juice and 8 oz. water until sugar is dissolved. Add 16 oz. Wild Turkey Rye and 3 cups water. Serve over large block of ice in punch bowl. Garnish with lemon wheels.

Derek Brown’s Rye Old Fashioned:

2 oz. Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey

1/2 oz. Cane Sugar Syrup (2:1)

Dash Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters

Lemon peel

Add ingredients with ice to mixing glass. Stir and strain over fresh ice. Add lemon peel.

The Vieux Carre Cocktail:

3/4 oz Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz Martini Rosso

3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand 1er Cru de Cognac

1/8 oz Benedictine

2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Build drink in rocks glass with ice, stir until chilled and garnish with lemon peel.


1 1/2 oz. Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey

1 1/2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

1 dash Cointreau

1 wide lemon twist

1 wide orange twist

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Twist a broad swathe of lemon peel over the shaker and drop it in. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Twist one strip of orange peel over the drink and discard. Twist a second one over it, drop it in and serve.


2 oz Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey

2-3 dashes Peychaud’s

Dash Pernod or Absinthe

Dash simple syrup

Chill a rocks glass, set aside.  In mixing glass, add the simple syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters, then fill with ice.  Add the rye whiskey.  Stir well, set aside.

Discard ice from rocks glass.  Add 1 teaspoon Herbsaint, swirl it around, or spin it into the air, to discard excess.  Strain contents of mixing glass into rocks glass.  Garnish with a lemon peel, twist to extract essential oils.  Au votre sante!

Cocktail à la Louisiane:

3/4 ounce Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce Bénédictine
3 dashes Pernod or Absinthe
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, stir on ice until well chilled, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

As always, the Museum of the American Cocktail would like to offer thanks to the generous support of our sponsors for this event, namely: Cointreau; Benedictine; Pierre Ferrand 1er Cru de Cognac; Wild Turkey 101 Proof  Rye and Bourbon; and Fee Brothers Bitters.

We would also like to thank the contributions of Sazerac and Co. for their Peychaud’s Bitters, Heaven and Hill for the Dubonnet Rouge, and Martini for its Rosso sweet vermouth.

By Matt Keller

Matt lives in Washington, DC. When he’s not contributing to his blog District Cocktail – A Drinker’s Notes in Capitol City, his imbibing can be followed on his Twitter feed @DCcocktails.

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MOTAC Hosts All-Star Holiday Cocktail Seminar

On December 18 the Museum of the American Cocktail held its 4th annual holiday cocktail seminar in Washington, DC at PS7s Restaurant. A record number of over 50 guests were treated to an ensemble of some of DC’s finest bartenders which included JP Caceres of Bourbon Steak, Gina Chersevani of PS7s, Jon Harris of The Gibson, Katie Nelson of the Columbia Room,  and Dan Searing of Room 11. The seminar was led by MOTAC Founding Member Phil Greene.

From Left: Gina Chersevani, JP Caceres, Phil Greene, Jon Harris, Katie Nelson and Dan Searing

To start things off, Katie Nelson introduced her “Sweet Potato-Ginger Sparkler” (recipe below) which was a delicious spin on holiday flavors using a homemade sweet potato shrub, Wild Turkey Rye, sherry, Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters and ginger ale, garnished with a roasted marshmallow. The sweet potato shrub acted as a wonderful base with its infusion of ginger and sherry vinegar while the rye and sherry cut through to add a balanced depth of flavor. The acidic base of the cocktail was a good match with the creamy marshmallow.

Katie Nelson's "Sweet Potato Ginger Sparkler"

Jon Harris presented a classic Tom and Jerry using “Professor” Jerry Thomas’ original recipe from the 1850s featured in Esquire Magazine. He informed guests that the drink was created as a variation on the traditional eggnog. The Tom and Jerry Harris presented had a light texture with a clean finish along with a warming, seasonal appeal with its ingredients of Remy Martin Cognac, Appleton’s Reserve Extra 12 Year Old Rum, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, milk, nutmeg, all wrapped in a velvety texture of whipped egg whites.

Jon Harris' classic Tom and Jerry.

JP Caceres showed guests how to make his original “Fall in a Cup” (recipe below) with a unique blend of butter-infused St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Wild Turkey Bourbon infused with fall spices, Dolin Rouge vermouth, sparkling wine and Fee Brothers Orange Bitters. With the infused bourbon’s flavors of cinnamon, anise stars and cloves, the cocktail had a well-rounded spicy bite with sweet, floral and buttery overtones of the infused St. Germain.

JP Caceres' "Fall in a Cup"

Dan Searing gave the audience a glimpse into his book “The Punch Bowl – 75 Recipes Spanning Four Centuries of Wanton Revelry” where he presented one of his original punches titled “Conquistador Punch.” Not originally intended as a holiday cocktail, Searing’s punch incorporates clementines, which have become a traditional holiday offering, often called the “Christmas Orange.” Sliced clementines, clementine juice and clementine zest syrup intermingle with Corzo Reposado tequila, sherry and lime juice, for a tart yet balanced flavor appropriate for the holidays or whenever.

Dan Searing's "Conquistador Punch"

As the cocktails were being presented, Gina Chersevani treated guests to her culinary skills, preparing savory flat breads and tuna tartar sliders to accompany the drinks. At the end, Gina emerged from the kitchen to surprise guests with an original warm punch incorporating Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac, Benedictine, homemade apple-spiced shrub and cinnamon-apricot tea from Teaism. To accompany the punch, she also prepared a batch of her famous “Cuptails,” cupcakes infused with Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac and Benedictine.

Gina Chersevani's "Cuptails."

Katie Nelson’s “Sweet Potato Ginger Sparkler”

To make one:

1 ½ oz. bourbon or rye (in this case, Wild Turkey Rye)

3/4 oz. dry oloroso sherry (Lustau or Alfonso is fine)

3/4 oz. sweet potato-ginger shrub (*)

Dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters

2 oz. Blenheim’s ginger ale

Add all ingredients to an iced highball glass, stir gently to mix, garnish with toasted oolong marshmallow.

(*) To make the sweet potato shrub, first make a ginger vinegar infusion. Soak 1/2 cup (or so) finely chopped fresh ginger root in 1 cup fine sherry vinegar overnight. After straining out the ginger, about 2/3 cup liquid should be left over. If not, add more of the same vinegar to get the 2/3 cup mark, then add a 1/2 cup raw cane sugar to the ginger-infused vinegar over low heat, stirring just to dissolve.  Remove from heat, let cool.

Then make a sweet potato puree. Take about 3 large sweet potatoes, peel, cut into chunks, and bring to a boil in water.  Let cook until fork-tender, and then blend with a small amount of the cooking liquid until smooth. Strain if necessary for a smoother puree.

Add the sweet potato puree to the sweetened ginger vinegar (should be in the quantity ratio of 3 parts puree to 1 part ginger vinegar) in a saucepan over medium heat.  Let cook together for about 10 minutes or so, taste and add more cane sugar to taste if necessary. Remove from heat, let cool completely.

JP Caceres’ “Fall in a Cup”

1½ cups Wild Turkey Bourbon infused Fall Spices (*)

¾ cups Butter-Scotched St. Germain (**)

¾ cups Dolin Rouge Vermouth

2 cups Sparkling wine

12 dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters

Mix all ingredients above in a punch bowl and garnish with orange slices and an ice block to keep the punch cold. Yields 10 servings, served in an old fashioned glass over ice.

(*) (Infused style)- In a zip lock bag add 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 anise stars, 5 cloves and bottle of Bourbon. Seal and place in a dark room for 7 days. After the 7 days process open the bag and strain through a cheese cloth or a coffee filter and pour back in  to the bottle.

(**) (Fat Wash style)- In a saucepan, brown a half-pound of organic butter, then let it cool down. In a Mason jar combine 2 cups elderflower liquor and the melted brown butter, seal it and let it sit in a dark room for 7 days. After the 7 day process the butter fat will have risen to the top. Put the Mason jar in the freezer for 15 minutes in order for the butter fat to solidify on top, allowing the fat to be spooned out and discarded. Then strain the liquid through a cheese cloth or a coffee filter in order to strain out any small bits of browned butter.

Dan Searing’s “Conquistador Punch”

1 750-ml bottle of Corzo Reposado Tequila

1 375-ml bottle of Pedro Ximénez Sherry

1 ½ cups lime juice (about 12 limes)

1 ½ cups clementine juice (about 12 clementines)

1 cup clementine zest syrup (*)

1 ice block

2 clementines, peeled, cut into small, coin shapes

Combine all liquid ingredients in a large pitcher, adding the clementine syrup last and to taste. Chill thoroughly. When ready to serve, place the ice block in a punch bowl and pour the punch over it.

(*) Clementine Zest Syrup:

Zest from two clementines

1 cup cold simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part sugar – heat until dissolved, chill)

Use a microplane grater to remove the zest from the two clementines. Add the zest to the cold simple syrup. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 24 hours. Strain out the zest. Refrigerate any unused syrup.

As always, the Museum of the American Cocktail would like to offer thanks to the generous support of our sponsors for this event, namely:  Wild Turkey 101 Proof  Rye and Bourbon; Appleton Estate Rums; Pierre Ferrand 1er Cru de Cognac; Fee Brothers Orange and Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters; Rémy Martin Cognac; Corzo Tequila, and Benedictine.

By Matt Keller

Matt lives in Washington, DC. When he’s not contributing to his blog District Cocktail – A Drinker’s Notes in Capitol City, his imbibing can be followed on his Twitter feed @DCcocktails.

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DC Celebrates Repeal Day in Style

On December 3, 2011 the District of Columbia celebrated the 78th anniversary of Repeal Day. Bartenders from across the city and the nation participated in the event commemorating the day (December 5, 1933) Prohibition ended.  On that day, Utah passed the 21st Amendment reaching the needed three-quarters majority of states to end the national ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages. This was the 4th Repeal Day celebration in Washington and was hosted by the DC Craft Bartender’s Guild. The event was held at the Halcyon House in Georgetown. Built in 1787, the house became a center of Washington social life in the 19th Century.

In the spirit of 1933, the black-tie affair was attended by roughly 300 guests, many clad in Prohibition-period attire. A great number of classic and original cocktails flowed as guests were treated to creations by, according to the DC Craft Bartender’s Guild, “local DC favorites Todd Thrasher, Clinton Terry, Elli Benchimol, Owen Thomson, Chantal Tseng, Duane Sylvestre, Jason Strich, Dan Searing, and Gina Chersevani, to mention a few, along with Phil Greene from the Museum of the American Cocktail, as well as visiting mixologists Adam Seger and Charles Joly [Chicago,] Brad Hensarling [Fort Worth,] and Danny Ronen [San Francisco].”

Brad Hensarling's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with Absolut Vodka, ginger beer, Aabvorg Aquavit, fresh lemon, brown sugar and lavender water.

Phil Greene of the Museum of the American Cocktail prepared “Death in the Afternoon,” a Hemingway cocktail made with Perrier Jouet Champagne, and Pernod Absinthe.  It will be one of the 50-some cocktails featured in Greene’s forthcoming book, To Have and Have Another – A Hemingway Cocktail Companion.  Other cocktails and punches included “The Golden One” by Todd Thrasher (Dewar’s 12 Year, honey, Riesling, pear, and pear bitters), “El Presidente Persico” by Danny Ronen (El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum, Cocchi Americano, FAIR. Goji Liqueur, Cointreau, Orange), and “Ti Punch” by Ed Hamilton of the Ministry of Rum (Rhum Agricole, lime, cane syrup).

Chantel Tseng's "Darmoney Sucker Punch" with Plymouth Gin, Dolin Rouge, Cointreau, and fresh orange juice served from a claw-foot tub.

Chantal Tseng, Head Mixologist of the Tabard Inn, prepared an elaborate “Darmoney Sucker Punch” in a miniature claw-foot tub.  The drink consisted of Plymouth Gin, Dolin Rouge, Cointreau, and fresh orange juice. Gina Chersevani of PS7s Restaurant celebrated the season with her take on Egg Nog titled “NoggingHam,” consisting of Bulleit Bourbon, Benedictine, banana, cardamom, cinnamon, milk, sugar, butter and ham dust. Brad Hensarling made “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” with Absolut Vodka, ginger beer, Aabvorg Aquavit, fresh lemon, brown sugar and lavender water. Adam Seger provided “The String Puller,” consisting of Plymouth Gin, Hum Botanical Spirit, fresh lime, seltzer, Hedonistic Citrus Bitters and Thyme. And Elli Benchimol of Chef Geoff’s Restaurant provided “Candy Apple,” with Beefeater Gin, fresh lemon, apple cider, hibiscus, four spice syrup and a pickled apple.

Elli Benchimol's "Candy Apple" with Beefeater Gin, fresh lemon, apple cider, hibiscus, four-spice syrup, and pickled apple.

The evening even featured a four-spout Absinthe drip with Pernod, water and a sugar cube, tended to by DC bartenders JP Caceres and Diego Zeballos.

JP Caceres overseeing the Absinthe drip.

The 2011 Repeal Day celebration at the Halcyon House was a grand affair with cocktails and punches featured in its historic, Victorian-style upper-level rooms as well as its modern, lower-level exhibition hall. DC Craft Bartender’s Guild President Dan Searing, along with Derek Brown of the Columbia Room, led an evening toast made with a rare ten-year-old aged Magnum of Chimay.

From Left: Dan Searing, President of the DC Craft Bartender's Guild and Bar Manager at Room 11, with Derek Brown of Passenger/Columbia Room make a celebratory toast.

The Museum of the American Cocktail would like to thank the DC Craft Bartender’s Guild as well as the event’s sponsors Plymouth Gin, Absolut Vodka, Beefeater Gin, Pernod Absinthe, Bulleit Bourbon, Macchu Pisco, Dewar’s Scotch Whiskey, Remy Cognac, and Cointreau as a portion of the proceeds from the evening went to enabling the museum to further educate all on the great history and preservation of cocktail making.

By Matt Keller

Matt Keller lives in Washington, DC is the the author of District Cocktail – A Drinker’s Notes in Capitol City. His imbibing can also be followed on Twitter: @DCcocktails

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On The Town with Dale DeGroff

According to Dale DeGroff, founding president of The Museum of the American Cocktail, the cocktail is as American as jazz, apple pie, and baseball… and as diverse and colorful as America itself. Many cocktails arose out of a historical context, and each era can be characterized by its songs and stories.

From this perspective, “On the Town”: a Salute to Neighborhood Bars, Notorious Saloons, and Legendary Drink Palaces brings to life the music, stories, and classic cocktails that characterize the various eras. It is a delightful roadshow that is part cabaret and part history lesson rolled into one.

Joined by jazz guitarist Joel Perry, DeGroff shares songs and stories gleaned from a life of working and carousing bars in the most exciting cities in the world. He also delves into the history and evolution of modern cocktail culture, from the early 19th century through Prohibition to modern day cocktail bars. Guests are treated to sample classic cocktails while learning its connection to the politics, theatre, songs, and headliners of its day. An evening On the Town with Dale DeGroff will introduce you to bar culture, in all its gritty, creative, and intoxicating glory!

Special thanks to William Grant, Pernod Ricard, and Dushan Zaric for all their support! DeGroff will perform “ON THE TOWN” in several cities this year. For schedule and tickets go to: http://www.kingcocktail.com/onthetown.htm

Welcome Punch

2 Bottles Appleton Reserve
96 ounces spring water
6 ounces Cointreau
6 ounces Martell Cognac
16 ounces fresh squeezd lemon juice
2 cups granulated sugar
12 to 14 fresh firm lemons

Prepare shrub with lemons, sugar & lemon juice. Add gin, Cointreau, and
water to shrub and stir. Serve in goblet over cubed ice. Dust w/nutmeg

Absinthe Frappe

1 ounce (30ml) Pernod Absinthe, 1 ounce (30ml) spring water, 2 dashes Marie Brizard Anisette. Build the three ingredients together in a mixing glass with cubed ice. Shake
and strain into a goblet filled with shaved ice. No garnish

The Major Bailey (Southside Style)

1 1/2 ounce (45ml) Gin
1/2 oz. (15ml) simple syrup (1 pt water 1 part sugar)
1/4 ounce (8ml) lemon juice
1/4 ounce (8ml) lime juice
Several mint leaves and a mint sprig
Crushed ice

3 ½ bottles Gin
28 ounces simple syrup
28 oz fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice
55 mint sprigs
mint leaves for shaking

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An Evening in Washington, DC with Dan Searing, Author and Craft Bartender

On October 4 the Museum of the American Cocktail, in cooperation with The Passenger in Washington, DC, held a punch seminar featuring local bartender and entrepreneur Dan Searing, author of the recently published “The Punch Bowl – 75 Recipes Spanning Four Centuries of Wanton Revelry.” Searing is a founding member and current President of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild and bar manager of Room 11.

Philip Greene, Dan Searing and Gina Chersevani

The seminar was opened by Philip Greene, Founding Member of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Philip welcomed guests, reminding them that the Museum will be sponsoring future events across the nation including another one in DC on December 3 for Repeal Day, marking the passage of the 21st Amendment ending the era of prohibition. Philip also noted that for $35 anyone can become a member of the museum which includes discounts on museum events as well as access to member only information on the museum’s website, as well as discounts on book purchases. Membership also includes a copy of the museum’s special “Pocket Recipe Guide” featuring recipes for nearly 100 classic cocktails.

To warm people up, guests were treated to an appearance by Gina Chersevani, bar manager of PS7’s. She presented the audience with her “Old Faithful” punch featured in Searing’s book (recipe below) which uses bourbon as the base spirit along with elderflower liqueur, pink grapefruit juice, grapefruit bitters, sparkling water, mint leaves, grapefruit peel and sugar. For those more familiar with punches made with rum, gin or brandy, the bourbon added a nice depth of oaky flavor while balanced with the sweet and tart grapefruit juice, boosted with the aromatic mint and sweet, floral undertones of the elderflower liqueur.

Donning an impressive kilt, Searing gave some background on his book, his first, which is not only a collection of 50 historic and classic punches but also 25 recipes from bartenders from Washington, DC and throughout the US, including some Searing originals.

“The Punch Bowl” is a great addition to any imbiber’s library. Beginners will love it as it presents the fundamentals of punch-making in a humorous and down-to-earth fashion. Seasoned bartenders will enjoy it as a reference to its many great recipes as well as a pool of innovative ideas that think outside the punch bowl.

The book gives a brief historical overview of the centuries-old tradition, informing readers, for example, that punch was originally derived from the Hindustani word paunch (sometimes also panch), meaning five, which is the traditional number of elements of a punch (sugar, spice, fruit, spirits and water or tea). Punch began as a favorite elixir among sailors from pirates to the British Navy. Once punch reached land in the West its popularity grew from Europe to the Americas, being commonly served at taverns and private celebrations with punch bowls becoming ornate status symbols to show one’s wealth and success.

The book also offers helpful recommendations on proper punch service and techniques such as making your own syrups, garnishes, proper tea steeping, ways to make block ice at home and how much punch to prepare based on the number of guests and how much you anticipate they will drink.

The audience at The Passenger was treated to punches from Searing’s book. He began with Fish House Punch (recipe below) named after the Schuylkill Fishing Company, a men’s club established in what is now part of Philadelphia in 1732 and is still in existence. It has served many historical patrons including George Washington. With its simple recipe, the Fish House Punch is a refreshing citrus-forward drink with fresh lemon and lime juice, balanced out by dark brown sugar, rum and brandy. A great punch for any occasion.

On the other end of the spectrum, Searing served a Cold Claret Punch (recipe below), a red wine-based punch made with Claret, but Searing notes that other full-bodied wines will work just as well. With its use of ingredients such as orange liqueur and cherry brandy, the punch was reminiscent of Swedish glögg or mulled wine.

Evergreen Dazed

As a final punch, Searing treated guests to a new original recipe of his called Evergreen Dazed (punch and cocktail recipe below). He said that it started as an adaptation of Jake Parrott’s Chip Shop Punch from the book, which itself is an adaptation of the Fish House Punch. The name comes from a song by the band Felt, from their first album, Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty.

Searing explained that making punch has many advantages when throwing gatherings in that it can be made in advance with some simple and quick additions right before service such as the adding of ice and sparkling water. Not only is it easy to ladle out portions but has the convenient benefit of guests being able to serve themselves. It can also be an economical way of offering one’s guest a unique and memorable experience. Searing even said that experimenting with punches doesn’t always have to be at home, saying that he often pre-mixes batches, packs them in glass jars, and brings them to parties in lieu of the standard bottle of wine or six-pack of beer.

Searing’s book is a great addition to the growing re-appreciation of a centuries-old tradition. How punch later became what many of us remember as that neon-colored, candy-sweet concoction served at childhood birthday parties or school functions, we may never know. “The Punch Bowl” gives readers an enlightening glimpse into the background and preparation of a drink which once bore great popularity and cultural significance – a custom which is thankfully finding its way home again across the nation.

By Matt Keller

Matt Keller is a Washington, DC resident and writes the blog District Cocktail – A Drinker’s Notes in Capitol City. Twitter: @DCcocktails

Featured recipes from “The Punch Bowl” by Dan Searing:

Old Faithful

From Gina Chersevani, PS7’s, Washington, D.C.

This is an update of an authentic 1830 recipe.  You start with good honest straight Bourbon Whiskey (we used Wild Turkey 101 proof), and add a bit of continental sophistication in the form of newly popular St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and this punch leaps forward into the twenty-first century.  Together these two ingredients form the base of a punch that won’t let you down whether you prefer to look where you’re going or reflect on where you’ve been.

Recipe for 18 to 24 servings

1 cup powdered sugar
1 750-ml bottle Wild Turkey 101 Proof Bourbon
1 2⁄3 cups St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
4 cups pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed (about 4 grapefruit)
20  dashes Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
1 750-ml bottle sparkling water
30  mint leaves
20  strips of grapefruit peel

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, bourbon, and St. Germain until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the pink grapefruit juice and grapefruit bitters, and stir to combine.  Top the punch with the mint leaves and grapefruit peels, then stir gently and let the punch sit for about an hour. Immediately before serving add the sparkling water. Ladle into ice-filled glasses.

Fish House Punch

~ Circa 1732 ~

A concoction shrouded in secrecy (and ongoing disagreement about its exact ingredients), this grand old recipe comes from the Schuylkill Fishing Company, one of America’s oldest men’s clubs, originally founded in 1732. Some prominent figures in American history, including George Washington, have enjoyed a glass or two of Fish House Punch at the famous club (which still exists today, though no longer in Schuylkill county). Sip this punch and open a window onto what might have made America’s Founding Fathers feel so very revolutionary.

15 to 20 servings

4  cups freshly squeezed lime juice (about 32 limes)
2  cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1  cup Appleton’s Estate Reserve dark rum
2  cups Flor de Cana Extra Dry 4 Year Old white rum
1  cup Pierre Ferrand Cognac
1  block of ice

Pour the lemon and lime juices into a large punch bowl. Add the brown
sugar, and gently stir until dissolved. Slowly add the dark and light rums
and the brandy, stirring constantly. Slowly ease the block of ice into the
punch bowl.  Put the punch bowl into the refrigerator, and chill for 3 hours.
Stir the punch every few hours to help the flavors blend.  When ready to serve, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and, if need be, add more ice.

Cold Claret Punch

From Chafing Dish Recipes, 1896

Claret is the British term for Bordeaux wine, which is generally a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc along with a few other varietals. In the United States the blend is known as Meritage. If you cannot easily put your hands on either, your best bet is to select a jammy, full-bodied wine.

For 10 to 15 servings

1 750-ml bottle Claret, or other Bordeaux-style full-bodied red wine
¾  cup demerara sugar
2  tablespoons Orange Curaçao or other orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
2  tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy)
2  cups cold water
3  tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
½  pint cherries, pitted, or preserved cherries
2 tablespoons HUM Botanical Spirit

Pour the Claret into a medium punch bowl, and add the sugar, Curaçao, and kirsch. Stir well. Add the water and the lemon juice, and stir well. Add the cherries, and float a large block of ice in the punch bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes to chill, then serve.

Evergreen Dazed Cocktail

Original Recipe by Dan Searing

1.5 oz. Ridge Silvertip Gin
1 oz. Stone Barn Brandyworks Cranberry Liqueur (may substitute ¾ oz. cranberry syrup for liqueur and simple syrup)
½ oz. Old Sugar Cane & Abe Rum
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Dash Angostura Bitters

Add ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail stem. To serve as a punch multiply ingredients by 16 and add 2 2/3rds cups water. Chill and serve in a bowl with a large ice block.

As always, the Museum of the American Cocktail would like to offer thanks to the generous support of our sponsors for this event, namely:  Wild Turkey 101 Proof Bourbon and Flor de Cana Extra Dry 4 Year Old Rum (from Skyy); Appleton Estate Rums; Pierre Ferrand 1er Cru de Cognac; Plymouth Gin; Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters; and HUM Botanical Liqueur.

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Protected: Atlanta Food & WIne Festival – May 2011

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Seasonal Cocktails to Survive the Holidays

Presented by Charles Joly
Oct 3rd, 2011:
 Charles Joly presented an interactive session covering fall and winter cocktails with emphasis on holiday entertaining. The focus was on using available ingredients during a slow growing season. Chris Patino of Pernod Ricard provided free home bar kits to the guests, making it possible for everyone to experience cocktail making firsthanda hands-on presentation.

Joly is a proud south-sider, and has worked in the industry in Chicago for 13 years.  He recently took home top honors on the reality show: “On the Rocks”, mixing up a cocktail called the Absolut Tea Time.

Absolut Tea Time
1.5oz Absolut Wild Tea
3/4oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
3/4oz Grapefruit juice
1/4oz lemon juice
1/3oz agave
Egg white
Grated ginger
Tea infusion mist

Here are some of the cocktails that Charles demonstrated:

The Guild Meeting

2 oz   Vanilla Sugar*, muddled with 6 pieces orange peel
16 oz brewed strong chai tea
4 oz    fresh orange juice
2 oz    fresh lemon juice
2 oz    Canton ginger liqueur
2 oz    Drambuie
6 oz    Wild Turkey Whiskey
Prep:  Place vanilla sugar in punch bowl.
Use vegetable peeler to cut six strips of orange peel. Combine peel with sugar and muddle to extract orange oil. Let peels marry with sugar as long as possible (up to 2 hours) to create oleo saccharum. Heat water and brew tea with 3-4 bags or to desired strength. Pour brewed tea over sugar mixture and stir to dissolve.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Add generous amount of ice if serving immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 4-6, or two very parched guests.
*Create vanilla sugar by placing a split vanilla bean into a sealed container of sugar for at least 24 hours.

The Sun Also Rises
3-4 oz Mumm Napa sparkling wine
¼ oz   Pernod absinthe
¾ oz   Plymouth Sloe Gin
¾ oz   fresh lemon juice
¼ oz   simple syrup (1:1 ratio, sugar:water)
3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Glass: Champagne flute
Prep: Pour champagne into flute. In a mixing glass, combine absinthe, sloe gin, lemon and simple. Shake with ice and strain slowly into champagne flute. Top with a dash or two of Peychaud’s.
Serves 1
The Sun Also Rises is an original sparkling cocktail created in response to Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon” cocktail. Mr. Hemingway was a better drinker (and a much better author) than he was a bartender.

Eve’s Answer
1 ½ oz Corzo Reposado Tequila
½ oz    spiced raisin syrup*
1 oz    rich apple cider
¾ oz   fresh lemon juice
mezcal float- optional, but recommended …highly recommended
Prep: Combine tequila, raisin syrup, cider and lemon juice in mixing glass. Add ice, shake well and strain into rocks glass. Float mezcal over top of cocktail. Dust with cinnamon and garnish with remaining stick. (note: Ceylon cinnamon is preferable; however, cassia (common cinnamon) is just fine in a pinch)
*Raisin Syrup: Heat 24oz white grape juice until warm. Combine with 24oz sugar and stir until dissolved. Steep 5 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 3 star anise and a scrape of nutmeg for 30 minutes. Let cool, strain and refrigerate for use.
Eve’s Answer is an original seasonal adaptation of the timeless margarita. Don’t forget to save some mezcal for later.

Tom & Jerry

1.50 oz   Batter*
1.50 oz   Pierre Ferrand Ambre congac
 .25 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaican rum
5 oz       hot water (or milk for a richer option)
Footed coffee mug or other heat resistant glass
Cinnamon/Nutmeg grated
*Batter:  1 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1oz Black Strap Rum
½ teaspoon cinnamon, grated
¼ teaspoon allspice, ground
Pinch, cream de tartar
Separate yolks and whites, beat well in separate bowls. Whip spice, sugar, and rum into yolks. Combine all ingredients and beat to batter consistency. Refrigerate until use.
Makes 6-8 servings.
The Tom & Jerry is a long standing holiday classic dating to the 1820’s. This recipe was adapted for the venerable Professor Jerry Thomas and his first edition of “How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion”, 1862.
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