“Hawaiian” Punch

a 12 Bottle Bar original

1 Bottle Champagne
Rinds of 3 Lemons
6 oz (by volume) Brown Sugar
1/3 Pineapple
8 oz Pusser’s Rum
14+ oz Green Tea (Jasmine)

Peel lemons, taking as little of the pith as possible
Place peels in a bowl and cover with the brown sugar, setting aside for at least one hour
When sugar is ready, brew green tea (3 mins for most teas)
Pour 6 oz of the tea over the sugar mixture and stir to dissolve sugar completely
Remove lemon peels, set remaining tea aside to cool
Allow tea/sugar mixture to cool
Chop pineapple into rough ¾ in cubes, place in bowl, and cover with tea/sugar mixture
Allow this to sit several hours (at least two or three) or overnight, if possible
To assemble, add pineapple/tea mixture to a refrigerated punch bowl
Add rum, then chilled Champagne
Add additional cold green tea to taste (we used 1 cup)
Grate fresh nutmeg over the bowl

If possible, place the punch bowl on ice — do not add ice to the punch
Serve in coupes with a cube of pineapple from the punch

Yield: Approximately 48 oz

* * *

“I’m not in Hawaii next week; I’m in Milwaukee.  But, in my mind, I’m going to Hawaii.  Life is what you make it.  Anytime you’re going someplace in your life that you don’t want to go, pretend you’re going to Hawaii.  It’s a lot cheaper.”
-          Daniel Tosh

The deep history lesson is missing today, namely because this punch is only a few days old.  When we were coming up with New Year’s ideas, I knew that I wanted to include one original Champagne drink – I just wasn’t certain if it would be a single drink or a punch.  With all the other hubbub of the season, punch won out, simply because I could do the prep in advance, when I had time, and leave it all sit until the guests arrived.  Since we don’t have big plans tonight – what with Mr. Toddler on the loose – I made this for a dinner party last night.  Truth be told, I made it before the dinner party, and it just sort of hung around.  Even when it was warm and semi-flat (not something I recommend, but if it happens…), people were going back for thirds, which I took as a good sign.

The original idea for the punch stemmed simply from me wanting to do something with green tea and pineapple (both very traditional punch ingredients).  When I mentioned it to Lesley, she responded with, “You mean like the Gowanus Club Punch that David Wondrich contributed to my book?”  Uh, yeah – that’s what I meant, sure.  In actuality, I hadn’t considered that Wondrich recipe for several month, but I guess it had stuck.  Fortunately, “Hawaiian” Punch differs in enough significant ways that I think Mr. Wondrich will accept a tip of the hat and let me be on my merry way – a way which also passes closely to Punch à la Romaine (Roman Punch), with its Rum and Champagne composition (and a whole lot more).  “Punch Romaine”, as it was called, was served aboard the Titanic, and our friend Deana has a wonderful article on it over at LostPastRemembered.

If you make the punch, I encourage you to taste the lemon peel and sugar mixture once you’ve added the green tea – the subtle combination of flavors is truly wonderful.  Without the addition of another cup or so of tea, the drink is quite strong, but I’ll leave it to your individual tastes as to how much dilution you want – we went with one cup of tea added at the end, which seemed to please all those involved.

Why “Hawaiian” Punch, you ask?  Well, there’s pineapple in it.  And green tea.  And because of what Mr. Tosh has to say above.  I mean, who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii?    The serious answer is actually the silliest of answers.  For most of its creation, the drink didn’t have a name.  As Lesley and I sat over lunch with the boy, sampling the punch, the moniker just came out as a bit of a joke – but one that, taking a moment to consider, was not only appropriate but which also would make people of my generation smile.  Has there ever been a product that more blatantly incited violence than Hawaiian Punch?  It was perfect, especially for my kind of juvenile New Year’s shenanigans (all parties concerned are glad I’m sitting this one out with the boy).  Silly, sure, but it fits.  And, of course, it may be one of hundreds of drinks by that name (not counting the 800 lb Hawaiian in the room, of course), but that’s okay – it’ll do the job.

This post is short today because we wanted to get it out early in hopes that someone might actually make this tonight.  If not, it’ll work year-round.  And, there you have it, the final 12 Bottle Bar drink of 2011.  Have a wonderful (and safe) New Year’s Eve, and allow us to leave you with this parting question:

“How about a nice Hawaiian punch?”

It never gets old.

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4 Responses to ““Hawaiian” Punch”

  1. December 31, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Ha… you and I are on the same wavelength today… I thought I’d finish 2010 with a punch too… West Indies style!!! I have all the goodies and can’t wait to try yours… mine is STRONG!!! I hope you have a spectacular New Years. Your site has been so much fun to read in 2010… heres to more in 2011~!!!!

  2. MNViking54
    December 31, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Excellent name choice. Taste’s very much like I would imagine a Hawaiian punch to taste. Don’t underestimate how important the tea is to the flavor. No Pusser’s Rum in Alaska so I substituted Coruba Jamaica Rum. I assumed the brown sugar was to be measured by volume packed down and not loose. Only a 2.5 hour “soak” for the pineapple in the tea/sugar solution. Wonderful flavor, so people shouldn’t worry if they have to make this recipe with only a few hours only I’m sure the overnight soak would produce phenomenal flavor. Do follow instruction re: smelling brown sugar and lemon zest rest. Amazing.

    • December 31, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

      Wow! Someone tried it and reported back today. That alone makes my day — the glowing review sends it over the top. Thanks, MNViking. Didn’t know we had readers in Alaska, let alone a fellow Vikings fan. Very pleased to hear that you enjoyed. And I do just a loose pack on the sugar. Your choice of rum sounds delicious.

      Note that I forgot to add the final grate of nutmeg to the recipe when I posted it. Not a road block, but it adds a nice layer.

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