© Lucy Schaeffer, courtesy of Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, an imprint of Hachette Books
Noah Kaufman
June 22, 2017

Ah summer, the season of hot grills, long days and ample time for drinking. And since we assume you will want to share that time for drinking with many of your friends, now is an excellent time to make some punch. But because we know you’re too sophisticated to just dump some vodka in a bowl with random fruit juice we tracked down some serious recipes. They come courtesy of our regular cocktail columnist Carey Jones who has spent many months drinking all over New York’s hippest borough for her deep dive into King’s County cocktails, Brooklyn Bartender.  

The book is loaded with recipes and recommendations, but these punches all come from The Drink in East Williamsburg.

For those of you who don’t want to venture too far out on the L train, here’s what Jones has to say about The Drink and instructions on how to make the punches at home.

A nautically inspired bar amongst the dives of East Williamsburg, with a menu of historically inspired punches, a refurbished piano that invites impromptu performances, and traditions ranging from Pentecost parties (with mead and sword fighting) to apple festivals (with dozens of ciders and bluegrass music); it’s hard to neatly sum up The Drink. But all its eccentricities, many as they are, evolved organically. “Most of the owners here were raised sailing, so the maritime theme is genuine,” says co-owner Adam Collision. “The bar has become an extension of our personalities,” according to his wife Nika Carlson; “There's a lot of weird stuff here because that's what we like.”

The bar top is solid teak originally slated for sailboat construction; the bar’s foot rail, a mast that never made its way to a boat. “Everyone in our families is a bit of a hoarder,” says Carlson, “and everything in this bar has a story.” (And there’s plenty of it—Collision, charmingly, calls The Drink a “stuff-oriented bar.”) Inquire into the curios and you may get more history than you’d bargained for.

As for the punch? “We're interested in history here,” says Collision—and punch has a history dating back centuries. “Traditionally, punches were a combination of sugar, citrus, tea, and spirits, and that translates really well to modern cocktail culture.” He and co-owner Frank Cisneros, “who always had a bowl of punch on the back bar at Prime Meats,” were both enthusiasts, and when envisioning the bar, thought punch would suit The Drink and the atmosphere they sought to create: “It’s a more communal, friendly way of drinking a cocktail.”

Over the years, the team at The Drink has developed dozens of punch recipes with all manner of spirits, but their interests don’t stop there. Cisneros developed a list of classics; and their crowd appreciates everything from $3 Narragansett beer to top-shelf whiskeys that approach $100 for a double pour.

“I think people want to be here because they’re comfortable; we feel at home here and put ourselves into the bar,” says Carlson. “We have regulars who call this place their second living room.” And those regulars are themselves an eclectic bunch. “Our crowd is not definable,” says manager Allie Zempel—clearly, the way they like it.

THE OLD GUNWALE

Ingredients:

10 oz Bernheim bourbon

8 oz white grapefruit juice

6 oz chamomile syrup (recipe below)

5 oz water

1 bar spoon Bittermens New England Spiced Cranberry bitters

Instructions:

Stir all the ingredients together without ice, then pour over ice in a punch bowl. Garnish with lemon wheels.

CHAMOMILE SYRUP

Ingredients:

1 chamomile teabag

6 oz sugar

6 oz hot water

Instructions:

Steep the tea in the hot water for 5 to 7 minutes, remove the teabag and let cool. Add the sugar to the tea and stir until dissolved.

THE MUTINY

Ingredients:

10 oz  Pueblo Viejo tequila

10 oz watermelon juice

5 oz  lime juice

5 oz simple syrup

1 bar spoon Brooklyn Hemispherical Rhubarb bitters

Instructions:

Stir all the ingredients together without ice, then pour over ice in a punch bowl. Garnish with a handful of lightly bruised mint.

GRACE O’MALLEY

Ingredients:

7½ oz Teeling Small Batch Irish whiskey

5 oz Tuaca

5 oz Barry’s Tea (one bag brewed for 6 minutes)

5 oz green tea syrup (recipe below)

2½ oz mL lemon juice

10 dashes Angostura bitters

10 dashes orange bitters

Instructions:

Stir all the ingredients together without ice, then pour over ice in a punch bowl. Garnish with lemon wheels.

Green Tea Syrup

Ingredients:

1 green tea bag

5 oz sugar

5 oz hot water

Instructions:

Steep the tea in the hot water for 5 to 7 minutes, remove the teabag and let cool. Add the sugar to the tea and stir until dissolved.

LA GUERNICA

Ingredients:

10 oz Rittenhouse rye

4 oz/120 mL lemon juice

5 oz lapsang syrup (recipe below)

4 oz hibiscus syrup (recipe below)

1  oz jalapeño tincture (recipe below)

10 dashes Regan’s orange bitters

Instructions:

Stir all the ingredients together without ice, then pour over ice in a punch bowl. Garnish with lemon wheels and jalapeño slices.

LAPSANG SYRUP

Ingredients

1 Lapsang Souchong teabag

6 oz sugar

6 oz hot water

Instructions:

Steep the tea in the hot water for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the sugar to tea and stir until dissolved.

HIBISCUS SYRUP

Ingredients:

1 hibiscus teabag

6 oz sugar

6 oz hot water

Instructions:

Steep the tea in the hot water for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the sugar to tea and stir until dissolved.

JALAPEÑO TINCTURE

Ingredients:

5 jalapeño peppers, sliced, seeds removed

High-proof vodka

Instructions:

In a small jar or container, cover peppers with vodka. Cover, let sit for 3 hours and strain.

THE CLOSE HAUL

Ingredients:

10 oz Damrak gin

7½ oz cucumber juice

5 oz lemon juice

5 oz chamomile syrup (recipe above)

1 bar spoon Bittermens Meyer Lemon bitters

Instructions:

Stir all the ingredients together without ice, then pour over ice in a punch bowl.

 

For more Brooklyn bars and drink recipes you can pick up a copy of Brooklyn Bartender here.

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