Swedish Punsch

by Stevi on September 9, 2008

in Liqueurs,Reviews,Swedish Punsch

Over at A Mountain of Crushed Ice, Tiare had a contest to name her drink. As I always have a hard time naming my own drinks, I was thrilled when she liked my name. Especially since the prize was a bottle of Swedish punsch!

Carlshamns Flaggpunsch Swedish punsch is one of those ingredients that’s near mythological here in the United States. While it’s common in Sweden, it has not been available for a long time in the US. One of its major ingredients, Batavia Arrack, is now being imported by Haus Alpenz, and there are now many recipes to make your own punsch. And in the near future, we may be able to buy one brand, Facile.

In the meantime, I’ve never had the chance to try Swedish punsch, or any of the classic cocktails that call for it, so I was delighted when the package arrived today: my very own bottle of Carlshamns Flaggpunsch.

Opening the bottle and pouring a very small amount into a glass, I noticed that the smell is politely spicy.

On my first taste, there is a dominant sweetness. Once you let it coat your tongue, a parade of flavors come out. The tea is quite noticeable. But after my one sip of Batavia arrack straight, it didn’t have the same long, bitter aftertaste I associate with this key ingredient in punsch.

I’m not sure I’d like to sip the punsch straight, although at only 26% ABV, it should be very pleasant. I was very eager to try some cocktails. First up, I decided to go with very simple:

Doctor Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Swedish punsch
1/2 oz lime juice

shake over ice, strain into cocktail glass and enjoyMabel Berra Cocktail

As I was hoping, this tastes somewhat like a spicy daiquiri. The tea flavor is what I notice the most. Something that would be nice to drink on the odd occasion to keep the taste buds at attention.

Looking through the CocktailDB, I found a recipe that uses both the punsch and sloe gin. I’ve been looking for interesting new sloe gin recipes since I managed to procure a bottle of Plymouth’s new offering

Mabel Berra Cocktail

1 oz Swedish punsch
3/4 oz sloe gin (Plymouth)
3/4 oz lime juice

Shake over ice, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with orange twist.

On initial taste, I think 3/4 oz lime juice was a tad too much. I added 1/4 ounce agave nectar and that added a nice body to the drink. Next time I’ll probably cut back on the lime juice.

That said, I really like this cocktail. The sloe gin and Swedish punsch blend well together. The punsch does provide an interesting aftertaste; this might work better as a digestif than an apéritif.

I presume this cocktail is named after the early 20th centry comedic actress Mabel Berra. I can’t find much on her except that she was in a musical comedy called the Enchantress which played on Broadway. But if she inspired this drink, I bet she was an interesting lady

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