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Highlights from Imbibe’s Facebook Session with David Wondrich

On Tuesday, cocktail writer and historian David Wondrich took over our Facebook Page to chat everything from the origin of Pisco to the next great cocktail destination. Missed the conversation? Not to worry. You can read all 141 comments over on our Facebook page and here are a few highlights.

Ryan Dorn kicked off the conversation with, “David, how did you get started?” Dave’s response? “Ryan — I liked to drink, some, I knew how to write, some, and I was very curious about the history about the whole thing. Fortunately, there weren’t a lot of other writers who were at the same time.”

Michael Cooper asked, “How far do you think this craft cocktail/ingredient trend will go? Isn’t this sort of pricing itself out of feasibility?” Dave agreed and said, “I see a correction happening now, with simpler, cheaper drinks at many new cocktail bars.”

After we wrapped, we asked Dave (offline) to share his favorite Thanksgiving punch recipe. Here’s what he said:

“For Thanksgiving, I tend to favor simple drinks that can be made in advance and that don’t try to overwhelm the food. A bowl of 18th-century “Punch Royal” fits the bill quite nicely. Here’s how:

1) A couple of days before the big day, put a quart-sized bowl full of water in the freezer.
2) The night before, peel 3 lemons with a swivel-bladed peeler–aim for long spirals, if possible–and muddle them with 3/4 cup of sugar. Cover this and do not refrigerate; overnight, the sugar will extract the fragrant oil from the peels. Refrigerate the peeled lemons.
3) Thanksgiving morning, squeeze enough lemons to get 3/4 cup of strained juice. Stir the juice in with the sugar-lemon oil mix until the sugar has dissolved. 
4) Stir in 1 750-ml bottle of VSOP-grade cognac or armagnac (or, if that’s beyond your budget, mellow old bourbon) and 1 1/2 cups of dry red wine. Refrigerate this mix. 
5) To serve, unmold your ice block (you might have to run hot water over the bottom of the bowl), put it in a gallon bowl and pour your punch base over it. Add 3 cups of cold water and stir. Taste, add more sugar if necessary (or a splash of orange liqueur) and grate 1/3 of a nutmeg over the top. ladle out into small wine glasses, about 3 oz at a time. 
This will serve 10 or 12 people handily. Quantities may be reduced or expanded proportionately.”
For more tips on making holiday punch, check this story and our interview with David Wondrich.

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