Although we love showing off our cocktail skills, playing mixologist at a party can become an all-night endeavor. Thus the brilliance of serving a punch that serves 20 pals in a flash, like this fizzy, lemony brew from award winning Charleston chef Sean Brock who helms the kitchen at Husk—you can check out his sublime Thanksgiving dessert recipe for Chocolate Chess Pie here. He's a believer in tweaking the recipe slightly to suit your taste buds, too: "Every time you add a component to this punch, taste the cocktail," says Brock, whose latest book Heritage ($24, amazon.com) gives you a even deeper peek at his delicious cooking philosophy. Cheers!
The Charleston Light Dragoon Punch 1792
Makes: 20 servings
2 quarts water 7 bags black tea, preferably American Classic 2 cups raw sugar 1½ cups fresh lemon juice 12.7 ounces brandy (California is fine) 12.7 ounces rum, preferably Cockspur Barbados 6.4 ounces peach brandy 20 large ice cubes 2¾ cups soda water 20 thin slivers of lemon peel (from about 3 lemons)
1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium stainless steel saucepan over high heat. Add the tea, remove the pan from the heat, and steep the tea for 20 minutes. 2. Strain the tea through a tea strainer or a fine-mesh strainer into a 1-gallon container. Add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. 3. Add the lemon juice, brandy, rum, and peach brandy to the tea mixture, cover, and refrigerate until cold. (Tightly covered, the punch base will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.) 4. To serve, ladle 3 ounces of the punch base into each punch cup. Add an ice cube, top off with 1½ ounces of soda, and garnish with a sliver of lemon peel.
Recipe excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.