As the launch bartender of North America’s first and only Punch Room, located in Tampa, Florida, Renée Fitzgerald is dressing a centuries-old format of mixed drink in party clothes. Her modern takes on punch celebrate the flavors and spirits of the Caribbean and Gulf regions while incorporating contemporary techniques and unconventional ingredients. (Today’s wealth of agave spirits wasn’t so close at hand for yesterday’s punch makers.) Here, two types of clarified citrus join forces with manzanilla sherry, banana liqueur and crème de cacao atop a tequila base. True to tradition, a measure of orange rooibos tea remains in Fitzgerald’s modern punch.
- 1 1/2 ounces orange rooibos tea
- 1 ounce añejo tequila
- 1/2 ounce clarified lemon juice (see Editor’s Note)
- 1/2 ounce clarified orange juice (see Editor’s Note)
- 1/4 ounce manzanilla sherry
- 1/4 ounce Demerara syrup (1:1, Demerara sugar:water)
- 1 bar spoon white crème de cacao
- 1 bar spoon banana liqueur
- 10 drops mole bitters
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: lemon wheel, orange peel coins, mint and edible flowers
- Combine all ingredients in one side of a two-piece cocktail shaker and throw the drink between the two tins to aerate the mixture.
- Pour over a large cube in a rocks glass, then garnish.
Clarified Lemon Juice and Orange Juice
1. For every 1000 grams of fresh juice, set aside 100 grams of water and 2 1/2 grams of agar-agar powder.
2. Bring the water to a boil, then immediately sprinkle the agar-agar evenly into water while whisking continuously for 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the fresh juice for 1 minute.
4. Transfer the juice and agar mixture to a shallow pan over an ice bath, and allow to set slightly into a loose gel consistency. Meanwhile, line a strainer or chinois with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and set it over a container.
5. Ladle the gel gently into the center of the lined strainer and let strain for approximately 4 to 6 hours. Refrigerate the clarified juice.