Fortunately, I found the perfect drink idea waiting for me in this month's Food and Wine. The Philly Fish House Punch recipe from the Apothecary Bar and Lounge in Philadelphia calls for cold black tea, and it also allowed me the opportunity to experiment with punch. It seems punch is regaining popularity, and you can find it on menus at spots like Rickhouse in San Francisco. The nice thing about this punch is that it's intended to be prepared hours ahead of time, as it needs time to chill before it's served. This conveniently allows guests to serve themselves, and needless to say it's a good idea for a cocktail or dinner party.
Recipe Note: I used less sugar because I used Meyer lemons, which tend to be a bit sweeter. If you're using regular lemons, add an extra tablespoon of sugar. I aso used a combination of superfine sugar and confectioner's sugar because I have “texture issues” and was worried too much confectioner's sugar would make it a bit too chalky.
(For the original recipe in its unmolested form, go to Food and Wine Magazine online.)
Philly Fish House Punch
adapted by Alpha Cook
1 Tbsp superfine sugar
1 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
4 oz aged rum (Fleur de Cana 4 yr)
3 oz dark rum (Myer's)
4 oz brandy or cognac (I used vanilla cognac)
2 oz apricot liqueur
4 oz black tea (I used Tazo's Awake blend)
4 oz fresh lemon juice (Meyer)
4 oz cold water
Tools: funnel, *bottle with screw cap or lock top (or serving container with a small mouth), measuring cup, citrus juicer
Add the confectioner's sugar to the bottle first, using a funnel if neceessary. Then add both rums, brandy, apricot liqueur, tea and lemon juice. Close or cover the bottle and shake well, or until sugar is well mixed. Then add the cold water and shake again. Seal the bottle and place in the refrigerator until well chilled. Garnish with an orange peel.
*And of course if you don't have the right kind of bottle to mix it in, you can prepare the cocktail in a vessel capable of undergoing vigorous rounds of shaking and then transfer it to your favorite serving pitcher.