Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Raise a Glass of Palin's Christmas Punch!

Sarah Palin and her running mate What's-His-Name went down to ignominious defeat Nov. 4 (Thank God!), but the Alaskan governor lives on as an ageless punch line.

The winner of the first ever Martin Miller’s Gin Masters Competition for Best Original Cocktail, held at Death & Co. on Nov. 9, was Sam Ross, from New York’s Milk and Honey, with his Palin’s Christmas Punch! Ah, yes. Lord knows Palin must hold the yuletide close to her breast, thanking God that America is a Christian country (despite all those socialists running around practicing other religions).

Wanna make it as a quencher to go along with your Moose stew this Christmas Eve? Well, here's the recipe. It ain't easy. In keeping with its Republican image, the punch is expensive, and a bit of a pain in the ass. Still, I hear it's delicious!

Palin's Christmas Punch

12 oz. Martin Miller's Gin (Westbourne Strength)
12 oz. Fresh lemon juice
10 oz. Demerara date syrup*
14 oz. Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur
1 ½ oz. Absinthe
1/2 oz. Regan's Orange Bitters #6
One bottle of dry Champagne


In a large pitcher, muddle the peel of two lemons with a little sugar to extract the oils, pour all ingredients (except champagne) into pitcher and stir briefly with ice, strain into punch bowl, top with champagne, float lemon ice** and stir and serve in punch cups. Garnish with Absinthe dates***.

*Demerara date syrup: Stir 2 parts demerara sugar into 1 part water. Drop a bag of crushed dates in and leave for three days. Strain through coffee filter to eliminate sediment

**Lemon ice: Drop lemon wheels into a small plastic container filled with water and place in freezer,voila!

***Absinthe date: With an eye dropper, drop 3-4 drops of absinthe into the top of a date

The contest was quite a bit of fun. Contestants hailed from both the UK and U.S. From Limey there was Jake Burger, Ben Reed, Jason Scott, Sean Muldoon, and Giles Looker. From the 50 states were Daniel Shoemaker, Vincenzo Marianella, Giuseppe Gonzalez, Thad Vogler, Jamie Boudreau, Erik Adkins and Sam Ross.

Judges included historian Dave Wondrich, author and bitters-maker Gary Regan, liquor store owner LeNell Smothers, journalist and blogger Paul Clarke, bar owner Sasha Petraske, Tom Sandham, editor of the UK’s ‘Class’ Magazine and Tales of the Cocktail founder Ann Rogers. (The picture above features, seated from left to right, Sandham, Clarke, Wondrich, Petraske, Smothers, Regan.) In attendance were such cocktail-circuit regulars as mixologist-blogger Jeffrey Morganthaler, roving journalist Jenny Adams and PDT owner James Meehan. Also met David Bromige, the creator of Martin Miller's, who informed me the the financial meltdown in Iceland (where his gin gets its water) will have no effect on the making of Miller's. 'Twas a crowded house. Everyone seemed to have a camera, including Jamie Boudreau, who parked himself behind the bar even when he wasn't mixing and seemed to think that was OK.

The competition went on considerably longer that it was supposed to, but, as someone observed, organizing bartenders is akin to herding cats. Each bartender was called on to create a new cocktail using Martin Miller's, build a classic gin cocktail and participate in a Gin & Tonic speed round. The English proved funnier, but were also loquacious, consistently running over the seven minutes alloted them for each drink. The Americans were typically more efficient and no-nonsense, except for Boudreau (below), who employed equipment that looked like it came for the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. But, then, he's Canadian, right?


Jenny Adams said...

I appreciate being labeled "roving journalist" ... I have been called worse ;)
Hope life is treating you well!

Robert Simonson said...

Thanks for writing in, Jenny. What else would I call you? You're a journalist. You rove.