Ponche de Mezcal Para El Año Nuevo

This sparkling punch from Ron Cooper’s book Finding Mezcal was inspired by a cocktail called the Oaxacan Dream, made by Steve Olson, Leo DeGroff and Andy Seymour. “It was so simple, yet so beautiful—mezcal, pineapple juice, cranberry, lime, and agave nectar, but the juice was freshly pressed and the drink came with a grilled pineapple garnish,” says Cooper of the original cocktail. “We loved the drink, but after a few years, it began to feel pretty basic compared to the amazing cocktails bartenders around the country were coming up with. So, Steve did what any rational bartender would do: He turned it into a punch.”

1 bottle (25 oz.) Del Maguey Vida mezcal
6 oz. rum (Cooper suggests Dos Maderas PX 5+5 Rum)
10 oz.  sherry (Cooper suggests Dry Sack Medium)
10 oz. hibiscus tea
12 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
16 oz. freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
16 oz. fresh pineapple juice
10 oz. fresh unsweetened pomegranate juice
12 dashes Angostura bitters
Whole nutmeg, for garnish
16 oz. cava, to top
Tools: punch bowl, barspoon
Glass: punch cups or teacups
Garnish: 1 grapefruit, sliced, for garnish

To make the punch, add the mezcal, rum, sherry, hibiscus tea, and lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, and pomegranate juices to the oleo-saccharum base and stir to combine. Add the bitters and grate fresh nutmeg over the punch bowl. Add an ice block or several large ice cubes and garnish with slices of grapefruit. Ladle into small punch cups (teacups are perfect) over one or two ice cubes, top with cava, and grate more nutmeg over the top of each cup.

If you plan to prebatch the punch, add the mezcal, rum, sherry, hibiscus tea, and lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, and pomegranate juices to the oleo-saccharum base and stir to combine. Store this batch in the fridge. When ready to serve, bring punch out of the fridge and add a large ice block, bitters and grapefruit slices. Ladle into small punch cups over one or two ice cubes, top with cava, and grate more nutmeg over the top of each cup.

Oleo-saccharum: Peel 8 lemons and 4 pink grapefruit, working in a circular pattern around the fruit to make long, twisting peels. Reserve the fruit for the punch. Combine the peels with the 2 cups Demerara sugar at the bottom of a punch bowl and muddle the peels into the sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave overnight. The next day, stir the mixture, which should be a paste of sugar and peels. Squeeze the juice from the reserved lemons and grapefruit into the oleo-saccharum and stir to create the base for the punch.

Reprinted with permission from Finding Mezcal: A Journey into the Liquid Soul of Mexico with 40 Cocktails by Ron Cooper with Chantal Martineau, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.


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