Scotch Whisky Coffee

We’re still in the mood for keeping warm and cozy, as we’re in the midst of a cold snap here in DC. So we decided to take an already-warm drink, the Irish Coffee, and bump up the warmth a bit with some smokey Scotch whisky. –Andrew

Scotch Coffee Cocktail Recipe

Scotch Coffee Cocktail Recipe

2 oz Blended Scotch Whisky
1 oz Vanilla Bean Syrup
6 oz Hot Black Coffee

To make the vanilla bean syrup: combine a cup of sugar, a cup of water, and one whole vanilla bean, split down the middle, in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir frequently until all the sugar is melted into the water. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to allow the vanilla to infuse – at least 20 minutes, but the longer the better. Then strain the syrup through cheesecloth or a fine-meshed sieve to remove the vanilla bean solids (don’t worry about catching all the black flecks of vanilla bean). Bottle and refrigerate.

To make the Scotch Coffee: combine the Scotch, vanilla syrup, and fresh hot coffee in a mug. Top with whipped cream and, optionally, garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. Enjoy!

Scotch Coffee Cocktail Recipe

I wasn’t sure how this one would turn out when I first made it. Irish Coffee is such a classic drink, with a smooth, rich flavor profile, that I was worried the smokiness of the Scotch would overpower the other flavors in my mug. But it turned out much, much better than I had even expected. This drink is warm and rich, with lots of notes of earthy peat from the Scotch – and none of the smokey sharpness I was worried about. Vanilla is a perfect match for Scotch, rounding out any rough edges and helping the whisky’s warmer notes pop. Together with the coffee, they’re pretty magic.

Scotch Coffee Cocktail Recipe

As with any Scotch cocktail, your final drink’s flavors will depend on the Scotch you use. A single malt brimming with peat or brine can dominate your drink, but a milder blended Scotch – we used Monkey Shoulder – will blend and merge more easily with the other flavors in your mug.

Scotch Coffee Cocktail Recipe

Oh, and that vanilla bean syrup – it’s super easy to make at home and is worth keeping around for more than just this one cocktail. It’s amazing in regular coffee and is perfect for a wide array of cocktails, including Tiki drinks that play up vanilla’s origins as a tropical orchid.

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Glassware by Liquorary

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Glogg: Traditional Swedish Mulled Wine Recipe

We’re back with a new recipe, this one in the spirit of hygge – the Danish concept of comfort and coziness that is perfect for making it through gloomy Scandinavian winters and our dreary, drizzly January here in DC. This time, we’re making Glogg (which you might also see as Glögg or Gløgg), a traditional Swedish mulled wine. It’s hot and it’s sweet and and it’s rich and it will warm up your cold bones. –Andrew

Glošgg Recipe / Hygge Cocktail Ideas

Glogg

1 750 ml bottle Bordeaux
1 cup Brandy
1 cup White Port
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Raisins
1 cup Blanched Almonds, Slivered
1 Orange Peel
6 Cardamom Pods, Cracked Open
4 Cloves
2 Cinnamon Sticks, Broken Up
1 Star Anise Pod

Combine everything in a big sauce pan and simmer together until the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat, cover, and let infuse for at least an hour and overnight if possible. Strain through cheesecloth, squeezing the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible from the raisins. To serve, reheat and ladle into cups or mugs. Enjoy!

Glošgg Recipe / Hygge Cocktail Ideas

This is a perfect comfort drink: mild, warm, with lots of baking spice and sweet almond and mellow citrus flavors.

Glošgg Recipe / Hygge Cocktail Ideas

When Nole suggested that we make a Glogg, I went digging through recipes. And I discovered that no two were alike. Some called for brandy, others for rum, and still others for bourbon to fortify them. Some used raisins and almonds and others didn’t. Some even called for setting the mix on fire (I was really tempted to try one of those…) to extract flavors from the spices and orange peel. They were all over the place!

Glošgg Recipe / Hygge Cocktail Ideas

And I realized that of course there should be no single recipe. Glogg was the sort of thing that each family would have made at home, probably from memory and probably without trivial details like measuring. So take this recipe with a grain of salt, a starting point rather than anything definitive. Play around with the spices (maybe some allspice next time?) and the fortifying spirits (maybe some aquavit and sherry instead?) and the citrus (maybe some lemon or some exotic winter citrus?) until you come up with your own family recipe.

Glošgg Recipe / Hygge Cocktail Ideas

And then memorize that recipe, and never write it down, and pass it down to your kids for winters to come.

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Glassware by Liquorary

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Charles Dickens’ Punch

Charles Dickens sure liked his punch. It showed up in his novels and it showed up in his letters. Thank goodness it did, because one of them – his namesake punch – is delicious, pretty easy to make, and theatrically awesome. You set it on fire. Yes! Fire! (It’s a lot of fun.) We highly recommend making up a batch of Charles Dickens’ Punch for the holidays – and for the many cold winter nights still to come. Andrew

Charles Dickens Punch Recipe by Liquorary

Charles Dickens’ Punch

Makes 12 servings

16 oz Rum
10 oz Brandy
6 oz Raw Sugar
3 Lemons
5 cups Hot Black Tea

With a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, thinly peel the lemons, avoiding the bitter white pith, then juice the lemons and set the juice aside. Combine the rum, brandy, sugar, and lemon peels in a heat proof bowl or an enameled cast iron pot. Pick up a spoonful of the liquid with a heatproof spoon – stainless steel is best – and light the spoonful on fire with a match. Lower the lit spoon to the pot, lighting the whole thing on fire. Let it burn for three minutes, stirring periodically, then extinguish the fire by covering the bowl. Then add the hot tea and lemon juice, and remove the lemon peels with a slotted spoon. Ladle into cups to serve while it’s still hot. If it cools, you can also serve over ice. Garnish as you see fit: citrus wheels, freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and fresh herbs and spices all work. Enjoy!

Charles Dickens Punch Recipe by Liquorary

This is actually a pretty easy punch to make, as long as you’re good at not setting yourself on fire. Some of the traditional punches we’ve featured have been pretty labor intensive – remember the milk punch that takes two to three days to make? This one takes a fraction of the time. The heat from the fire both melts the sugar and extracts the oils from the lemon peels in minutes, instead of the usual hours or days.

Charles Dickens Punch Recipe by Liquorary

The result is a really flavorful punch, with a mellow foundation and a punch of citrus. You can make this punch with hot water instead of tea, but we like to go with a black tea – or even a chai – to add some complex spiciness.

And it’s so dramatic! This is a good one to impress a party. But be careful! Alcohol makes a cool, dim blue flame (it helps to dim the lights so you can see the full light show), but as cool as it is, it’s still flame and it will still hurt if you spill it on yourself.

Charles Dickens Punch Recipe by Liquorary

Lighting booze on fire can actually be a bit tricky. Most liquor is bottled at 80 proof, 40% alcohol by volume, and liquor at this proof doesn’t like to light at room temperature. If you’re using liquor at this proof, you’ll need to warm it up first – stick it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds before you try to light it, which will warm it and release alcohol vapor that will help with lighting. As it burns, you’ll lose alcohol content, so you’ll also end up with a lower-proof punch. Or, you can use an overproof rum, something like Hamilton 151, in your mix. Adding some higher proof rum should allow you to light the punch without heating it first.

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Glassware by Liquorary

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Benjamin Franklin’s Clarified Milk Punch

Milk Punch? Yes: milk punch. Back in the good old days – the 1700s – drinkers loved mixing their booze with their milk. There’s probably something in Leviticus about not doing that, but they did it anyway. We still have a few holdovers from those days, like eggnog. (Real eggnog, with brandy and rum.) Thick and rich and creamy, we usually save those for the holidays. But there’s a whole other way of making milk punch that sounds super gross and takes days to make and is super messy but is so, so worth it. Clarified milk punch is crystal clear, intensely flavorful, and silky smooth. So read below to learn how to make Benjamin Franklin’s very own clarified milk punch recipe at home. Andrew

Clarified Milk Punch Recipe

Benjamin Franklin’s Clarified Milk Punch Recipe

Makes 40 Servings

3 cups Brandy
3 cups Aged Rum
2 cups Lemon Juice
4 cups Filtered Water
1 1/2 cups Sugar
3 cups Whole Milk
11 Lemons
1 Whole Nutmeg
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Star Anise Pod

Day One: thinly peel the lemons with a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, taking care to avoid the bitter white pith. Combine the peels with the brandy and rum in a jar and let it sit for 24 hours. Juice the lemons (and run the rinds through the garbage disposal; they’ll make it smell nice). You’ll have more than you need for the punch, so save the rest for other cocktails.

Day Two: strain the peels out of the brandy and rum. (Citrus peels will turn spirits very bitter if they infuse for too long.) Add the lemon juice and sugar to the brandy and rum and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Grate the nutmeg and break up the cinnamon stick and star anise into the mix. Then, bring the milk to a boil in a big pot. As soon as it is boiling, add the spirits and lemon juice mixture. Stir a bit to melt any remaining sugar. Turn off the heat and watch the milk curdle into a big, gross mess. Let it sit, covered, for at least two hours.

Then, using lots of cheese cloth (or, as in Ben’s original recipe, a Jelly-bag, whatever that was), strain the milk solids out of the punch. Working in small batches, run the punch through the cheesecloth, which will clog up quickly. Change out the cheesecloth frequently, taking time to squeeze out as much liquid as you can from each batch.

What’s left will still be pretty cloudy, so you can handle the next step a couple of ways: you can let it sit overnight so the solids settle to the bottom and then carefully decant the punch into another container, or you can do what we did: strain everything painstakingly through a coffee filter. We used our Chemex coffee maker. It takes forever, but what comes out will be crystal clear and you won’t lose any liquid in the dregs.

Clarified Milk Punch Recipe

Got all that? If you’ve made it this far, and survived the curdling, then you’ll be left with a crystal clear, amber-hued liquid of sublime flavor and texture. Clarified milk punch is dark and smooth, with layers of citrus and hints of spice. It’s also silky and smooth in a way that no other drink is. By letting the lemons’ acidity curdle the milk solids, you’re really just using the whey – sugar, in the form of lactose; proteins; and almost no fat. The result is an unctuousness that’s surprising the first time you try it.

Clarified Milk Punch Recipe

This is definitely an old drink. Even people who have enjoyed classic cocktails before will probably be surprised by clarified milk punch. And not just its texture: this punch almost seems like a showcase for citrus, with all the lemon juice and lemon oil in there, and exotic (at the time) spices. Which makes sense: in the 1700s, citrus was a fairly rare treat. And spending two or three days making a single punch will definitely remind you of how different life was back then, when people actually had time to make and enjoy a bowl of punch like this. So it’s odd. Delicious, but odd.

Clarified Milk Punch Recipe

Some logistics. This recipe makes about a gallon, so be prepared with a large bowl and some thirsty mouths to help you drink this down. (And this is a short version of Ben Franklin’s original, which made about four gallons and used 44 lemons (!!). Serve it over ice; if you’re serving from a bowl, put the biggest block of ice you can fit into the bowl. No need for a garnish, since it has all that spice and lemon oil in it, but it won’t hurt if you want to make it pretty. And because it’s clarified, it will keep in the fridge, so keep some swing bottles handy to save any leftovers.

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Glassware by Liquorary

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Planter’s Punch: A Tiki Bowl Rum Punch

After several decades, punches are finally making their way back into cocktail fashion. Two hundred years ago, Americans would spend an evening sitting around a punch bowl, slowly drinking it down in convivial company. The Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect excuse to mix up a big bowl of punch, so before we all go running off for the holiday we wanted to share a Tiki spin on a classic rum punch. Enter the Tiki Bowl! Popular during Tiki’s golden age and a feature of the Tiki Revival, Tiki Bowls straddle the line between cocktail and punch, combining the simplicity of batching up a cocktail with the social aspect of a punch bowl. So this week, we’re drinking a big bowl of Planter’s Punch! Andrew

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

Planter’s Punch

8 oz Jamaican Rum
8 oz Demerara Rum 
8 oz Lime Juice
4 oz Grenadine 
4 oz Honey-Pineapple Syrup
2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
16 dashes Angostura Bitters

To make the honey-pineapple syrup: combine equal parts honey and pineapple juice in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir frequently until the honey is melted into the pineapple just. Bottle and refrigerate.

To make the cinnamon syrup: break up two cinnamon sticks into bits with a muddler in a sauce pan, then add a cup of sugar and a cup of water. Melt the sugar into the water over low heat, stirring frequently until all the sugar is dissolved. Cover and remove from the heat; let the pan sit for at least twenty minutes. Strain through a sieve, bottle, and refrigerate.

Combine everything in a punch or Tiki bowl with 8 ounces of cold water and give it a stir. Add ice and garnish with mint and, if it suits your fancy, a flaming lime shell. Ladle into cups to serve or, better, drop in some straws and enjoy together. Makes about 8 servings.

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

Planter’s Punch has its roots in Jamaica, from which it spread throughout the Caribbean and to America through Charleston. There’s no authoritative recipe, and variations run the gamut – rum and lime and sugar in all of them; grenadine in many but not all; orange juice in a few; you get the idea. It’s more of an idea of tropical refreshment, a reference point for tweaking and experimenting. We went with grenadine, which adds a dark tartness; pineapple for tropical fruitiness; and honey for rich, earthy sweetness. Between the grenadine and pineapple and lime, this turns out pretty tart, so we added just a touch of cinnamon syrup to balance it out. This Planter’s Punch is rich and tropical and just a bit spicy.

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

Ice is key to a cold punch; you want to make the biggest block of ice you can fit into your freezer (and your punch bowl) to cool your punch without melting and diluting your punch too quickly. Cake pans are handy for this; we used a Bundt pan to make our big block of ice. We filled ours with lemon and lime slices, but you can freeze all sorts of garnishes into your ice, which both look great and add flavor as the ice melts – fruit, herbs, whatever suits your fancy. Lay your garnishes in the bottom of the cake pan, then fill the cake pan with crushed ice and, finally, top with water before you put it in the freezer. The crushed ice will keep your garnishes in place as the ice block freezes up.

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

Planter's Punch Tiki Bowl Rum Punch Recipe

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Glassware by Liquorary

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper