Over 10 years ago, the first LUPEC chapter was formed. (I wrote about LUPEC in a previous post). I am fortunate to be a member of the LUPEC – Seattle Chapter. We generally meet monthly, and July found us at Wine World & Spirits to talk about I-1183 and taste cognac. I wrote the guest blog post for this meeting. You can read all about it on the LUPEC Seattle website.
A party? What a perfect opportunity to make a punch. Never mind the small detail that I am probably not on the invitation list. Pressure party host into inviting you by bribing them with a punch-offering…problem solved. Besides, 30th birthday and completion of MBA? Oh, I’ve got a punch for that guy.
The above scenario also offers me the perfect opportunity to acquire David Wondrich’s new book: Punch. If this book isn’t in your libation library yet, it should be. Got get it. Mr. Wondrich is a wonderful historian, this time entertaining us with all things punch. There are many exquisite punches described in the book, so deciding on the party punch is a challenge. However, I had the very fortunate opportunity to attend THE holiday party of the year this past December and the hosts served Regent’s Punch. I recall visiting the punch dispenser regularly throughout the holiday night and wanted to share this tasty concoction with others. Problem solved. Regent’s Punch it is.
What follows is my recipe and step-wise approach to making the MBA1 Regent’s Punch (this generally follows the recipe that is found in Mr. Wondrich’s book Punch with additional help provided by Dayne Miller):
Step 1: The Oleo-Saccharum
As described in ‘Punch,’ most bowls of tasty goodness start with one of the 4 ‘Pillars’ of punch making. Pillar number one is the ‘Oleo-Saccharum,’ which is basically a sugary citrus oil mixture.
I used 3 oranges and 2 lemons for my Oleo-Saccharum (which, BTW, I think would make a great drinking game. Right now. Literally. Get a drink and every time you read Oleo-Saccharum, tip it back, baby!)
Peel the oranges and lemons using a fancy horizontal swivel peeler. (Ok, it doesn’t have to be fancy, or even horizontal). But the peeler I use is the mac-daddy and one of my early cocktail memories is watching Andrew Bohrer use this kind of peeler to peel an orange in one single peel and then wrap said peel around an ice sphere over which the tastiest cocktail was poured. So I think you should really get one of these peelers. However, whatever kind of peeler you use, try not to include the white, pithy part of the orange and lemon peels.
Add approximately 4 oz. white sugar to the citrus peels.
To make the Oleo-Saccharum you will need to muddle the sugar and citrus peels together and let sit at room temperature for at least one hour.
Fun DrinkScience Fact
(I’ll do the research so you can impress your friends at your next cocktail party).
Let’s talk a bit about this Oleo-Saccharum. Citrus peels are filled with citrus oil. Obvious, I know. But maybe what you didn’t know is that the citrus oil is an essential oil that consists of almost exclusively D-limonene, which is found in the class of oils known as Terpenes.
D-limonene looks like this:
Oranges and lemons are hesperidia: fruit that has a rind with oil-filled glands. For the Oleo-Saccharum, we only want the outermost peel of the orange; the part of the peel that contains only the oil glands. This pigmented, outer peel is called the flavedo. When you read about citrus cocktail garnishes, you often see warnings to avoid the white pith between the flavedo and the segments. The white pith is called the albedo and has a bitter flavor profile. We do not want the albedo to impart bitterness to our Oleo-Saccharum. This is a hesperidium showing the flavedo:
Matas, et. al. in Journal of Experimental Botany (2010; 61:3321) used Laser Microdissection to perform molecular profiling of specific citrus epidermal cell types. During the course of their study, the Rose laboratory in the Department of Plant Biology at Cornell University also generated beautiful microscopic images showing the citrus oil glands. You can read their paper here: “Tissue-specific transcriptome profiling of the citrus fruit epidermis and subepidermis using laser capture microdissection.”
Matas et. al. Figure showing the citrus oil glands labeled with numeric ‘1‘:
Muddling the granulated sugar with the citrus peels causes mechanical disruption of the oil glands. In other words, the oil glands/vacuoles are damaged and broken open by the action of pressing the sugar granules into the citrus peel with the muddler, allowing the d-limone to seep out and saturate the sugar. The Libation Laboratory is a small operation and relies on your standard wood muddler to facilitate the mechanical disruption. However, depending on the amount of Oleo-Saccharum we might want in the future, we could always pursue an industrial sized citrus oil extraction and scale up to the Model 6100 BOE (Brown Oil Extractor); the Holy Grail of mechanical disrupters made by the Brown International Corporation in Florida (where else?). The 6100 BOE uses over 3 million (that’s right, ‘million’ [it’s better if you say ‘million’ with a slightly crazed, maniacal voice]) sharp stainless steel needles to puncture the entire surface of the citrus fruit peel, rupturing the oil vacuoles. This process is performed under water and then centrifugation is used to separate the citrus oil from the water.
I was thinking there might be some osmotic mechanism also occurring to form the Oleo-Saccharum, however, after conferring with Dr. Rouseff, Professor of Food Chemistry at the University of Florida’s (where else?) Citrus Research and Education Center, this hypothesis was quickly dispelled. So the Oleo-Saccharum, a Pillar of Punches is made by mechanically breaking open the oil vacuoles, which releases the citrus oil to saturate the sugar.
And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.
This is the Oleo-Saccharum:
Step 2: Tea
Step 3: Oleo-Saccharum + Tea
Step 4: Juice
Step 5: Preparing for Travel
Step 6: Booze
8 oz Cognac (Courvoisier)
2 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith and Cross)
2 oz Dark Rum (Meyers)
2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
2 oz Batavia Arrack
Step 7: Add Ice and Rest (the Punch)
This a traveling punch. I will add a couple of large ice block to the punch bowl when I finish constructing the punch at the party. However, I don’t anticipate having the luxury of letting the punch sit with the ice and dilute down before partygoers are dipping in, thus I am adding some ice at this stage for dilution. Add ice (approximately 2 cups of ice cubes), stir and then refrigerate until it’s party time.
Step 8: Bubbles
Pour the punch mix into a gorgeous cut-glass punch bowl. Add 2 bottles of sparkling wine. Mix gently. Add two large ice blocks. Stir and enjoy the MBA1 Regent’s Punch.
You may be adequately inebriated by this time if you have been playing the Ole0-Saccharum drinking game. If so, I suggest you bookmark this page so you can come back when you want to make this punch. And you should definitely make this punch someday.
1Mike Bushey is Awesome. Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Awesome Mike Bushey.
I’ve been thinking about what this blog might look like for over a year now. I can recall my peeps at my previous job (Hello peeps!) encouraging me and providing input on blog names last Christmas (2009). I think I have an idea about how I want to start off. Being new to this field, I obviously need to continue my intensive research. I have no pretense that I have anything to teach. This is all about my learning and providing a narrative of that process. I trust that you will only read the content if it provides you with some level of entertainment. So don’t judge my crude writing and elementary methodology.
As I was saying…research. As a scientist tasked with learning a new protocol or method, I would first dive in to some background/reference reading. As such, I will do something similar here. Hopefully by the end of my research I might be slightly more versed at mixology. Stay tuned for more on this.
But first, I want to talk about (and mix) the cocktail that sealed the fate of my new hobby….The Champs Elysees (CE). When I first mixed this drink, I used the recipe from Drinks by Vincent Gasnier. And I really, really enjoyed it. Since then, I have acquired a few more books and I see that the recipe differs depending on the source. So let’s try two variations:
CE (Drinks) Recipe:
1.0 oz Cognac (Hennessy)
0.5 oz Green Chartreuse
1.0 oz Lemon Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake, strain – cocktail or coupe
6 Jiggers Cognac (1.5 oz Hennessy)
2 Jiggers Yellow Chartreuse (0.5 oz)
2 Jiggers Lemon Juice (0.5 oz)
1 T Powdered Sugar (not sure here, so I went with 0.25 oz Simple Syrup)
1 dash Angostura Bitters (drop of bitters)
Though neither recipe called for it, I garnished both with a small lemon twist. They just seemed a little naked without a garnish.
The two are quite different drinks. Besides the significant difference in lemon juice volume, the Chartreuses are distinct in flavor profile and even proof, with Green coming in at 110 proof and Yellow at 80 proof. CE (Drinks) is much more tart and snappier with the Green. CE (TSBG) is mellower and sweeter, from the Yellow and added simple. I think I might like CE (TSBG) slightly better. As I made the decision to revisit the Champs Elysees for this post, I realized I can’t remember the last time I mixed this drink. It may have been two years ago when I mixed my first ‘real’ cocktail and was converted into a cocktail fan(atic).
I look forward to using both Green and Yellow Chartreuse in more cocktails. I wonder what favorite Chartreuse recipes others would recommend.