In the current issue of Saveur, David Wondrich points out that not only was punch "the first popular mixed drink to incorporate distilled spirits," but it's also "the first testing ground of the mixologist's" and "the social drink that, in its 18th-century heyday, fueled the European Enlightenment ... a drink assembled according to exacting formulae and shared by kings and gentlemen, poets and adventurers."
Wondrich's history of the stuff (beginning with 1600s sailors and traders and moving to British "punch houses") is quite fascinating, and is likely to inspire you to make a bowl of your own.
To that end, and because those Christmas and New Year's bashes are around the corner, we've asked our favorite mixologists (from PDT, Pegu Club, Daniel, etc.) to provide recipes. It's part of our New Year's Eve package that also includes a helpful list of New Year's brunch specials ranging from dim sum to Morandi. Enjoy!
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