MAKES 3 QUARTS
This tea-infused champagne punch makes an elegant centerpiece for any festive occasion.
1 cup sugar
1 cup cubed pineapple
1 seville orange (also called bitter or sour orange)
2 green tea bags (or 2 tsp. green tea leaves)
1 cup brandy, preferably VSOP cognac
1⁄4 cup dark Jamaican rum
1⁄4 cup arrack liquor, preferably Batavia-Arrack
van Oosten, or cachaça
2 750-ml bottles brut champagne, chilled
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. In a 1-qt. saucepan, combine 1⁄2 cup sugar and 1⁄4 cup water. Stir over high heat until sugar dissolves; transfer to a bowl along with pineapple. Allow to macerate in refrigerator for at least 8 hours to make a pineapple syrup. Strain and reserve; discard solids.
2. Using a peeler, peel lemons, oranges, and seville orange, taking off as little white pith as possible. Transfer peels to a heavy bowl; reserve fruit. Add remaining sugar; use a muddler or a wooden spoon to vigorously crush sugar and peels together until sugar turns faintly yellow and slushy (see Mastering Muddling).
3. In a medium bowl, steep tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain tea over lemon and sugar mixture; stir until sugar dissolves. Juice reserved fruit into tea mixture. Strain through a sieve into another bowl; discard solids. Stir in pineapple syrup, brandy, rum, and arrack. Chill mixture. To serve, combine mixture and champagne in a punch bowl along with a large block of ice (see Holidays on Ice). Garnish with nutmeg.