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David Wondrich celebrates 'Punch' at Hemingway's

November 12, 2010 | 12:07 pm

PunchEarly on Wednesday night when the wind started to pick up along Hollywood Boulevard, the big draw at the new bar Hemingway's wasn't the usual cast of PYTs, nor was it the stylized library-ish decor complete with vintage typewriters, nor even barman Alex Straus' signature cocktails.

A crowd made up mostly of L.A.'s best bartenders (and some of New York's too) was there for the punch. Actually, they were there to celebrate "Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl," David Wondrich's just-published book on the subject.   

Cocktail historian Wondrich himself led a demo on how to make a "punch royal," and afterward attendees bowed to the bowl and drank it. Chapter 11 of the book is devoted to the royal version of punch, which is based on wine. One example is Capt. Radcliffe's Punch: It calls for five bottles of Sauternes and the squeezing of 72 lemons. The recipe for a Cognac punch royal is after the jump; you'll need one bottle of Cognac (and some Port) and just a few lemons.  

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: "Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl." Credit: Perigree

Martell Cognac Punch Royal

From: David Wondrich

Note: To make a 1-quart block of ice, fill a cleaned 1-quart milk carton with water and place in the freezer. When frozen, peel away the carton. 

The peel of 3 lemons, each cut in a 1/2-inch-wide spiral with a vegetable peeler 
6 ounces (3/4 cup) superfine sugar
6 ounces (3/4 cup) fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice
25 ounces (one 750-milliliter bottle) Martell VSOP Cognac
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Sandeman Founder's Reserve Port
24 ounces (3 cups) cold water
Nutmeg

Muddle the lemon peels and the sugar together and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Then muddle again and stir in the lemon juice. Add the Cognac, Port and water and stir. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. To serve, pour into a 1-gallon punch bowl with a 1-quart block of ice and grate nutmeg over the top. 

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