For the holidays, I was invited to a Norwegian-themed party and was challenged to come up with an aquavit-based drink. I decided to bring a bottle of Jeff Berry’s Peg Leg punch. Punches are always a good idea for parties. You can pre-batch them, so you have something you can serve quickly to your guests while you enjoy the party.
For the aquavit, I went with Krogstad which is distilled in Portland by House Spirits Distillery (they also make the Aviation gin). The process is similar to gin-making but with different botanicals. Aquavit has a very distinctive flavor but can work in a lot of cocktails originally designed for gin. Caraway is traditionally the main flavoring in aquavit. The Krogstad combines caraway with a strong star anise flavor that is immediately noticeable when you open the bottle. It’s extremely aromatic and more intense than some of the other aquavits we had a chance to try that evening.
The Peg Leg punch combines aquavit with vodka, grapefruit, lemon juice, and orgeat. The vodka and orgeat mellow the flavors of the aquavit. With its citrus and orgeat combination, this drink reminded me of the gin-based classic, the Army & Navy. Although not included in Jeff Berry’s recipe, like the Army & Navy, the Peg Leg Punch can benefit from a few dashes of Angostura bitters to add a different element and balance the aquavit. The cinnamon notes in the Angostura combine especially well with aquavit.
Peg Leg Punch (adapted from Jeff Berry) | 6 oz vodka | 3 oz aquavit | 6 oz grapefruit juice | 2 oz lemon juice | 1.5 oz orgeat | 20 dashes of Angostura bitters | shake with ice & serve on ice (or serve in a punch bowl with a block of ice) | mint garnish | yield 18 oz, or about 8 servings
Thank you to Nick for hosting this month’s challenge.
Happy Holidays everyone, and I am very much looking forward to another year of Mixology Challenges, together with more food & cocktail adventures.