Painful Punch

Adapted from Artisanal Cocktails by Scott Beattie

This punch was originally inspired by a sangria recipe I learned from my friend David Hanna. More flavorful and higher in alcohol than your average sangria, this punch uses inexpensive wine from Spain. My two favorite brands are Protocolo and Borsao, both of which provide a juicy, full-flavored foundation for spiced juice and liquors. The punch has a tendency to be rather tannic tasting, so I add simple syrup cup by cup until the sweetness is just right.

One of the most tragic downfalls of a party punch is overdilution, which happens when the punch is chilled with fast-melting ice cubes. I serve this punch either prechilled with ice on the side, or with one large piece of block ice in the bowl and ice on the side.

Reprinted with permission from Artisanal Cocktails by Scott Beattie. Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Beattie. Photo (c) 2008 Sara Remington. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


Yield: approximately 1 gallon

  • 1 whole nutmeg pod
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 stick of cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 2 2/3 cups orange juice, fresh
  • 2 2/3 cups pineapple juice
  • 4 bottles (750 ml) red wine, Spanish
  • 1 cup cognac, VSOP
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 - 1 cup simple syrup, to taste (1:1, sugar:water)

Garnish: orange wheels

  1. Place the nutmeg pods in a cloth napkin and break them into pieces with a hammer or other blunt object.
  2. Combine the nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon in a large stainless steel saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Toast the spices until aromatic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add orange and pineapple juice, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the mixture is reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat, and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois into a container large enough to hold all of the punch.
  7. Discard the spices.
  8. Add the wine, Cognac, and rum and stir well.
  9. Add the simple syrup, a bit at a time until the tannins are tamed.
  10. Add the orange slices, cover the container and place in the refrigerator to chill.
  11. To serve, transfer the mixture to a large glass punch bowl with a ladle. Serve into individual glasses with ice.