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Posts Tagged ‘Combier’

*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, a portion of which originally appeared in the Weekly Dig.

As the snow dumps and the holiday bills roll in many of us are choosing to imbibe at home, both to save money and stay warm. Such was the case last week for this LUPEC lady: my roommate whipped up a batch of jambalaya in the slow cooker and invited Alexander to come by for dinner. Alexander invited a friend who invited a friend and I invited a friend who did the same. Before we knew it, our snuggly winter dinner plans morphed into an impromptu dinner party. With all these guests on their way and only ten minutes to prep, what were we to do? Make punch!

Our group was a blend of bourbon drinkers and folks who “only drink vodka” so I turned to a bottle of Nolet’s Finest as a base, an elegant gin that uses Turkish rose petals and raspberries as main botanicals. With subdued juniper notes, Nolet’s ia a nice gateway choice for gin-phobes. I had white tea kicking about in the cabinet, lemons on the counter, a bottle of Combier and a little Orchard Apricot Liqueur on the bar. Old school recipes for punch (like, circa the 18th century) call for tea, sugar, water, spirits, citrus, and little spice. With all of these items at my fingertips, punch became possible.

When our guests arrived they were thrilled to find me batching up a bowl of punch just for them. It’s as simple as pie (easier even – have you ever tried to make pie dough?) but packs impressive, well, punch. Our guests christened it the Short Con – the Long Con has yet to be invented, but will probably use something brown as a base.

To similarly delight your guests, follow these simple steps:

Step #1: Steep tea. How much will depend on how much punch you are making; for the Short Con Punch I steeped 2 white tea bags in 1 cup of water for five minutes.

Step #2: Peel whatever citrus you choose and muddle it with sugar. Again, this should scale; for the Short Con Punch, muddle peels of 4 lemons and a lime in about a cup of sugar. Muddle until the citrus oils have been absorbed by the sugar.

Step #3: Add tea to the sugary citrus peel mix and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Step #4: Add base spirit, modifying liqueurs, and fresh squeezed citrus juice of choice in a ratio of 2:1:1. For the Short Con we started with 2 cups of gin, a little over ¼ cup of Combier, a little under ¼ cup of Orchard Apricot Liqueur and juice of 4-5 lemons. Taste as you go and modify as needed.

Step #5: Add a little water and ice.

Et voila! If serving immediately, ladle punch over ice filled cups. If you have time, allow the punch to chill for a bit (literally) before serving.

Your guests will be so impressed. But do prepare yourself for texts that blame you for their hangover the morning after.

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Happy 500th birthday, Bénédictine! This mysterious liqueur was invented by a monk named Dom Bernardo Vincelli, in 1510.

Vincelli, a member of the order of Saint Benedict in the French abbey of Fécamp, experimented in alchemy—more than the process of turning metals into gold, a lesser known application of alchemy involved developing secret elixirs that are thought to help prolong life. This is how Bénédictine was born.

Like another favorite monk-made elixir of ours, Chartreuse, the recipe for Bénédictine was nearly lost in 1789 during the French Revolution and was rediscovered in 1863 by wine merchant Alexandre Le Grand. While sorting through some old family papers, Le Grand discovered a recipe book that had fallen into his family’s hands decades earlier when the last monk to leave the abbey of Fécamp gave them several of their most precious books. These tomes had been collecting dust in the library, unnoticed for decades.

Le Grand spent a year decoding the recipe, but was eventually able to re-create the elixir Vincelli had invented so long ago. Bénédictine is a bewitching blend of 27 different plants and spices, all proprietary, of course, and it became popular in the 1880s.

LUPEC was thrilled to host Bénédictine’s 500th birthday party at Franklin Southie last weekend. If you missed it, you can raise a glass of one of these at home, toasting five centuries in pursuit of long life.

Old No. 27

2 oz Plymouth Gin

0.5 oz Bénédictine

0.5 oz Combier

1 dash Fee Bros orange bitters

1 dash angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

CIN-CIN!

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*The latest ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed them in The Weekly Dig

by Pink Lady

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake; over 1.5 million left homeless; as many as 200,000 dead. The statistics flickering across the television screen nightly about the recent earthquake in Haiti seem improbably tragic, difficult to comprehend from the comfortable vantage point of a barstool.

Restaurant industry colleagues have rushed to donate time and talent to raise money to support relief efforts: Via Matta and Radius will donate 100 percent of dessert sales, servers at Myers + Chang have been donating a portion of their tips, Stella did a mini-celebrity chef dinner, and Upstairs on the Square held a day-long fundraiser offering guests opportunities to dine and donate at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our friends over at Drink offered an opportunity for charitable imbibing via a special menu of tropical cocktails made with Haiti’s famous Rhum Barbancourt, with a portion of proceeds going to Haiti relief. The list goes on an on, and we only hope it will grow.

Generous Bostonians, LUPEC salutes you. We invite our readers to do the same by raising a glass of Oloffson’s Punch, invented at the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince. The eponymous hotel has been many things since it was erected at the turn of the 19th century: a fancy private residence for the then-ruling family, a military hospital occupied by US Marines, a fashionable tourist destination for glitterati like Mick Jagger and Jackie Onassis, and an artistic hub, a sort of “Greenwich Village of the Tropics.”

The enchantingly decrepit hotel also served as backdrop for Graham Greene’s novel, The Comedians. In his words, “You expected a witch to open the door to you or a maniac butler, with a bat dangling from the chandelier behind him.” The hotel’s “tropo-Gothic gingerbread façade” also inspired cartoonist Charles Addams, creator of the famed Addams Family. LUPEC loves a good story, and the Grand Hotel Oloffson is full of ‘em, from tales of an eccentric owner who raised alligators in the hotel swimming pool to the American expat owner who fancied himself a Caribbean version of Rick from Casablanca (weapons scandal and all).

Even as it fell into disrepair in the early ’80s, the Oloffson remained a destination for reporters and aid workers needing a safe place to stay near the heart of the city. Today, it’s where many American journalists are staying as they cover the earthquake that has devastated the country.

LUPEC hopes to partner with member chapters in other cities in the coming weeks to prepare a fundraiser of our own, allowing you to sample some of Haiti’s fine alcoholic heritage, from Rhum Barbancourt to cordials like Combier and Grand Marnier, which source bitter oranges from the tiny republic. Stay tuned for updates, and in the interim, enjoy one of these.

OLOFFSON’S PUNCH

2 oz Haitian dark rum
1 tsp maraschino liqueur
3 oz orange juice
1 1/2 oz lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker. Strain into a goblet and fill with crushed ice. Serve with straws and garnish with twists of orange and lime.

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