Inaugural Orange Punch

It was first time when I made punch. There is no tradition to drink punches so for me it was something strange.  After long time of hesitation I started to look for a decent punch recipe, and Bombay Punch from Harry Johnson’s «New And Improved Bartendes’ Manual» was the option I scrutinized. But unexpectedly I’ve chose another recipe that I’ve saw recently at Chuck Taggart’s Looka! blog.

That was Andrew Jackson’s Inaugural Orange Punch containing interesting mulled orange syrup. I love to make and to use handcrafted components so I started my preparations immediately.

By the way, Chuck give a link to the source for the punch, the article in The Wall Street Journal by Eric Felten.

As Eric wrote, it was 1829 when General Andrew Jackson became President, and the punch was made to celebrate his inauguration.

Historical details are available in the original article link to which can be found above. The original recipe called for simple syrup infused with orange peels. Eric has improved it a little bit adding small quantity of spices to the syrup. Also he calls for a dash of Angostura bitters to be added to each cup of the punch.

Inaugural Orange Punch
  • 3 parts fresh orange juice
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part mulled orange syrup
  • 1 part dark rum
  • 1 part cognac
  • 2 parts soda water

Combine in a punch bowl with a large block of ice. Serve in punch cups with a little crushed ice, and give each glass a dash of Angostura bitters.

Mulled Orange Syrup

Combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water and heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the peel from an orange and mulling spices (a couple of cinnamon sticks, some whole cloves and allspice berries). After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit for several hours. Strain.

Chuck Taggart has tweaked the recipe too when serving it in a glass over crushed ice.

As I said, we have no tradition to drink punches so I’ve adapted the recipe to my actual conditions.

First, I decide not to serve the punch in a bowl. I’ve just measured components for two serves and shake it with ice. Shaken cocktails were served in small crystal mugs without ice.

Second, I’ve took much more species for my mulled orange syrup therefore it was rather spicy than citrusy. For this reason, I omitted bitters and replace it with a small pinch of grated nutmeg for each cup.

Third, I’ve increased spirits ratio from one to two parts because original recipe resulted in nearly non-alcoholic citrus drink. Also I‘ve preferred Armagnac to Cognac. In my opinion, the former is stronger and will work better than the latter in the mix with orange juice.

Fourth, I have no certain idea should soda water be added or not to the punch. I like both variants but each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.

Andrew Jackson’s Inaugural Orange Punch (serves two)

Shake all components except soda water with ice. Strain into mugs or cups, add soda water and serve with a little pinch of grated nutmeg on top.

Inaugural Orange Punch

Last summer after two years of unsuccessful attempts I was finally disappointed in tiki drinks. It’s irrational but I was waiting for something like this when making my first punch. And I was very happy when my doubts got resolved.

It was really nice drink. I love its light fresh and nutty flavour of orange, cloves, cinnamon and almonds. And the thick background for this freshness based on powerful rum and brandy was amazing too. Brandy wood and fruit notes combine well with citrus tartness as rum flavour full of molasses and pepper hints was a natural addition to spicy side of the cocktail.

Also I’ve tried it mixed with Cognac (Monnet VSOP) and Cuban aged rum (Varadero 7 Anos). There were some nice moments but this variant definitely lacks character and power because the spirits can’t compete with citrus juices.