Hock Punch

Every year, some friends who live in Napa have an Octoberfest party. Or maybe it is an “Oystoberfest”. There is Riesling. There are Sausages. There is Chablis. There are Oysters.

This year I vowed to create, or find, a Riesling Punch for the party. I didn’t have any luck finding an official, vintage, “Hock”, (as Rielsing used to be called,) Punch, so I applied the usual Punch Making Principles. The result was quite delicious.

Hock Punch


Oleo Saccharum:

6 Lemons, peeled
2 Oranges, peeled
2 Cups Powdered Washed Raw or other Demerara style sugar (When I need powdered sugar, I simply put Washed Raw or Demerara sugar in the blender and pulse for a few seconds.)

Reserve peeled fruit. Combine citrus peels and sugar and leave overnight, mixing occasionally.


Spiced Tea Sherbet:

2 Cups Water
2 tsp Green Tea
1 Cinnamon Stick
9 Whole Cloves
4 Whole Allspice
Oleo Saccarum (see above)

Bring water to a boil, cool slightly and pour over tea. After an appropriate interval, strain solids out of warm tea. Add warm tea to citrus peel and sugar mixture. Stir to dissolve sugar. Strain peels out of what is now your Sherbet and refrigerate.


375ml Brandy (I used a reasonably priced Armagnac I got on sale from K&L Wines.)
375ml Rum (Mostly Appletone V/X, but I also added in a little of a mostly empty bottle of pampero anniversario. Punch. Always a great opportunity to get rid of odd and ends of bottles lying around your liquor cabinet.)
1 Cup Batavia Arrack
2 Bottles Off Dry chilled Riesling
Juice from the 6 lemons and 2 oranges (see above)
Spiced Tea Sherbet (see above)
1 liter Chilled Sparkling Water

Combine ingredients and serve to festive partygoers!


Rock and Rye Cocktail

Rock and Rye Cocktail.
1 Glass Rye Whisky or Canadian Club. Dissolve 1 Piece of Rock Candy in it. The Juice of 1 Lemon can be added if desired.

Here’s another one that has made no sense to me. How do you dissolve a piece of rock candy in room temperature whiskey?

I started doing a bit of research about this and found a bunch of different recipes, from those as simple as the above to those which included spices and honey infused into the whiskey.

Looking over the more complicated recipes and articles, the consensus seemed to be that Rock and Rye should be flavored with Horehound and citrus. In addition, it seemed like Rock and Rye was considered some sort of home remedy for chest ailments like coughs and sore throats.

I found a couple recipes for straight horehound candies and horehound cough syrup. At that point, it occurred to me that there was no reason I couldn’t adapt my usual punch method to this beverage, substituting the horehound syrup for the tea syrup.

750ml Wild Turkey Rye
Zest 1 Lemon
Zest 1 orange
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Horehound
1 TBSP fresh Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis)
1 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed
1 Pound Honey
Rock Candy

Infuse Peels in Rye Whiskey for 24-48 hours. Bring water to a simmer, add spices, and remove from heat. Steep 15 minutes. Strain out solids. Add Honey and cool. Strain Rye off of peels and combine with spiced syrup. Filter into a clean sealable bottle. Add rock candy to bottle until it does not dissolve.

Rock And Rye

OK, as many of the horehound syrup and horehound candy recipes predicted, this is pretty bitter. Not exactly in an unpleasant way. More in a green, sagey, menthol-ish, and fairly pleasant way. Kind of like dandelion greens. Some friends also commented it was pretty sweet. I don’t see a way around that. The whole point of the “rock” in the bottles of rock and rye, is that the solution is so saturated that further sugar crystals won’t dissolve.

After running the finished product past a few more friends, LeNell Smother’s name came up as someone who made Rock and Rye. As a Rock and Rye evangelist, even. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to drop her a note, so I sent her the following question, “Recently reached the letter ‘R’ in the Savoy Cocktail Book and am researching Rock and Rye. When talking to some friends about it, your name came up as someone who had made an interesting version. I sort of treated it like a punch. I infused rye whiskey with lemon and orange peels. Made a horehound, lemon balm, and fennel seed syrup sweetened with honey. Combined the two and added rock candy to the bottles. It turned out at least interesting, but I have no real idea if it is even close to what rock and rye is supposed to taste like. How do you make it?”

She responded:

No “supposed” to taste like, in my opinion, as this was something folks just made and had sitting on the back of the bar. Not rocket science distillation. And probably everybody made it a bit differently. Some folks just sweetened up the rye with maybe lemon and nothing else…I make my rock and rye slightly different every time. It’s like cooking for me. I have a basic “recipe” but fuck around depending on what’s on hand. Sometimes I put more pineapple, sometimes none at all. Dried apricot? Raisins? The horehound can get too bitter for some people but I like it to balance out the sweetness plus it goes along with the cough suppressant notion.

Yes, funny! I was getting over some chest congestion just when making this recipe came up. Thus I can say with some authority that a rock and rye toddy is really good for chest congestion and a cough. Give it a try.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Cuban Cocktail (No. 2)

Cuban Cocktail (No. 2)

The Juice of 1/2 Lime or ΒΌ Lemon. (Juice 1/4 Lemon)
1/3 Apricot Brandy. (3/4 oz Apricot liqueur)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I thought I would take this opportunity to do a bit of an Apricot liqueur taste off.

Liqueur Line UP

From left to right we have Brizard Apry, Vedrenne Liqueur de Abricot, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, and homemade.


First we tried the Brizard Apry. I’m not all that familiar with the Brizard Apry, only having used it a couple times now. Every time I’m struck by the cherry scent and flavor. Not quite sure what that is about. Reminds me a bit of Apricot flavored candies.

Vedrenne Apricot

Sigh, the Vedrenne Apricot liqueur reminds me of Apricot pancake syrup. There is am almost maple-ish flavor there, and that of concentrated dried apricots.

R&W Apricot

Again struck by the fresh apricot smell of the Orchard Apricot. Mrs. Underhill actually thought this cocktail seemed a bit sweeter than the Brizard cocktail. Again, though, a stronger flavor of fresh apricot, rather than apricot-cherry-almond candy.

Homemade Apricot

My homemade apricot liqueur was one of the first that convinced me that, in some cases, commercial producers can often do a much better job than I. Very little apricot flavor despite it being a whole fruit infusion.

Apricot Cocktails

Not sure what this means; but, the Apry and the Vedrenne cocktails were foamier than those made with the R&W and homemade liqueurs.

Cocktail itself is all right. The flavors didn’t really compel me to finish any of the 4 versions; but, I didn’t resent tasting it. Not entirely convinced by the Maison Surenne as a mixing brandy. I think something with a few more teeth might make for more interesting cocktails. Maybe investigate some of the more reasonable Armagnac.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Underhill Punsch II

In the quest to make a Swedish Punch Clone, I had combined two Jerry Thomas recipes and made a variation using Sri Lankan Arrack. While interesting, I later discovered it wasn’t very Similar to Swedish Punch.

I re-used the same procedure recently using Batavia Arrack.

This was what I did:

Underhill Punsch II

1 cup Appleton V/X Rum
1/2 cup Batavia Arrack
1 cup hot extra strong tea (2 tsp Peet’s Lung Ching Dragonwell tea brewed in 1 cup water)
1 cup sugar
1 lemon sliced thinly, seeds removed
1 lime sliced thinly, seeds removed

Put sliced lemon and lime in a resealable non-reactive container large enough to hold 4 cups of liquid. Pour Rum and Batavia Arrack over citrus. Cover and steep for 6 hours.

Dissolve sugar in hot tea and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.

After 6 hours, pour rum off of sliced citrus, without squeezing fruit.

Combine tea syrup and flavored rum. Filter and bottle in a clean sealable container. Age at least overnight and enjoy where Swedish Punch is called for.

The interaction between the Chinese green tea and the lime gives this an interesting flavor. One person who tried it compared it to the bitter greens they’d just had in their salad. Just on its own, at room temperature, this is a little much, as the intense bitter lime aftertaste tends to linger on the palate. Over ice, though, it is quite a pleasant beverage. I’m going to be interested to see how this variation mixes.

Brandy Gump Cocktail

Brandy Gump

1 Hooker of Brandy (1 1/2 oz Korbel VSOP)
The Juice of 1 Lemon (about an ounce)
2 Dashes Grenadine (1 generous teaspoon Fee’s American Beauty)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Woo, this is tart and pink. I didn’t have any problem finishing it, but it’s kind of like one of those really sour candies. Bracing.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Brandy Crusta

Brandy Crusta Cocktail

Use small wine glass. Moisten the edge with lemon and dip edge into castor sugar which frosts the glass. Cut the rind of half a lemon spiral fashion; place in glass. Fill glass with cracked ice.

3 dashes Maraschino.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
4 Dashes Lemon Juice.
1/4 Curacao
3/4 Brandy.

Stir well and strain into prepared glass, adding slice of orange.

I tried a Brandy Crusta sort of half way between the above Savoy and the Jerry Thomas recipe. Quite enjoyed it.

Brandy Crusta for 2:

4 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Brizard Curacao
Juice 1/2 lemon
2 Dashes The Bitter Truth Boker’s Bitters (Bother them, maybe they’ll make another batch!)

Followed Thomas procedure shaking with cracked ice, and straining into small sugared glasses with a half a pared lemon peel each. Unfortunately, pictures didn’t really turn out very well. I don’t have the appropriate glassware, need to work on my sugared rim technique, and sharpen my paring knife.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Boomerang Cocktail

Boomerang Cocktail

1 Dash Lemon Juice
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky (1 oz Forty Creek Barrel Select)
1/3 Swedish Punch (1 oz homemade Sri Langkan Arrack Punch)

Shake (stir – eje) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze lemon peel over glass.)

Tasty; but, the Canadian Whisky didn’t seem to stand much of a chance. It’s all about the punch and the lemon.

Apparently, a version of a cocktail with this name is still made. I’m told, though, it is usually made with Gin, Bitters, Dry Vermouth, and Maraschino Liqueur. Beyond the name, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the version here.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Bombay Cocktail (No. 1)

Bombay Cocktail (No. 1)

4 Dashes Lemon Juice
3/4 Wineglass East Indian Punch (1 1/2 oz Ponche Raja)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

About “East Indian Punch” cocktaildb sez, “Defunct. Likely to have been a brand or other descriptive designation for a Swedish Punsch-style liqueur.”

When I was questing for Swedish Punsch a local liquor store suggested I purchase this product as a replacement.

I figured I’d use it here, what with the maharaja and East Indian theme on the bottle.

It is just awful. Sweetened grain alcohol flavored with vanillin.

The only nice things are the shiny bottle and kitschy label.

If you value your brain cells, I’d suggest avoiding it.

This is going down the sink. From here on out, I’ll be substituting my homemade Swedish Punsch. Whether or not it really tastes like Swedish Punsch or East Indian Punch, at least I know that it tastes good.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Bolo Cocktail

Bolo Cocktail

The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime (1/2 Lime)
The Juice of 1/4 Orange (Valencia)
1/2 Wineglass Bacardi Rum (1 generous oz of Flor de Cana Extra Dry)
1 Teaspoonful Sugar (1 scant teaspoon caster sugar)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Lime Wheel.)

Quite delicious! Kind of a “lite” Daiquiri. Certainly quite refreshing and tart.

One nifty trick I learned from Angus Winchester’s Daiquiri Video is to drop the juiced lime shell into the cocktail shaker. Also seemed appropriate for the Bolo. Give it a try, if you think that extra lime oil scent would add something to a cocktail you’re making.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Blue Train Cocktail

Blue Train Cocktail

1/4 Lemon Juice. (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Cointreau. (1/2 oz Cointreau)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)
1 Dash of Blue Vegetable Extract. (1 drop Blue Coloring)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Lemon Twist.)

Aside from being blue, this cocktail has several close relatives. Among them are the Sidecar, the Margarita, and the Aviation.

For whatever reason, this one doesn’t quite rise to the heights of those cocktails. It is a perfectly fine and refreshing Gin cocktail. Just not, for whatever reason, a real classic for me.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.