Friday Cocktails: Punch à la Taylor

By Khushbu Shah

Published on August 30, 2013

I am a punch-loyalist. Growing up, I knew that whenever my mother took out her giant glass punch bowl, the house would soon be filled with laughter and familiar faces. I would watch, fascinated, as she filled the bowl right to the brim with an appealing mix of fruit juices, sodas, and floating garnishes: scoops of creamy, slowly-melting ice cream or slices of fruit, bobbing and swirling in the brightly-colored mix.

I've carried that fondness for punch into adulthood, and while I now prefer fresh juices and spirits to soda and ice cream, I still always haul out my own absurdly-large glass bowl in anticipation of a party. I'd rarely had a good punch outside my own home, however; when it does appear on bar menus, it seems like an afterthought, overshadowed by other cocktails. But when I visited New York City cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit recently, I knew I'd found a kindred, punch-loving spirit.

Thoughtful and well-balanced, their Punch à la Taylor is an elevated take on the party staple—whiskey punch with tea and citrus. Served in tiny teacups, intricate layers of flavor surface in every sip: Citrus is muddled with sugar to extract the oils and form an oleo-saccharum—literally "oily-sugar"—a sweet, aromatic base that can hold its own against a potent dose of whiskey; bright notes of tamarind dance with mellow Assam tea and balance the Suze, a pleasantly bitter gentian-flavored apéritif. I loved the drink so much I asked for the recipe, so that I can fill my own punch bowl as the summer heat fades into autumn.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.