An old recipe found on Yucks Digest V4 #31, just in time for the holiday parties. It was originally posted by one Scott Dorsey, in September of 1994. It should be made well in advance of need.
Chatham County Artillery Punch
1 lb. green tea
2 gallons cold water
3 gallons Catawba wine
1 gallon rum
1 gallon brandy
1 gallon rye whiskey
5 lbs. brown sugar
2 qts. cherries
juice of three dozen oranges
juice of three dozen lemons
1 gallon gin
12 quarts of champagne
Mix the green tea into the cold water and let it stand overnight, then strain. Mix the tea and juices together first, then the sugar and the liquors, but don’t add the champagne. The recipe doesn’t specify when to add the cherries, but putting them in after the sugar and liquors should work. It also notes that the gin should be “added after juice to make smooth.” How you interpret this is up to you.
Note: Rye whiskey is not Canadian Club, unless you’ve been given a large bottle of CC and are stuck for ways to get rid of it. There are three non-boutique brands of rye: Jim Beam Rye, Wild Turkey Rye, and Old Overholt. The latter’s my favorite, but they’re all passable.
The recipe says to put a cover on your container and let the punch stock set for a week or two. In my opinion, you should put said container in a cool dark place, and more than a week is pushing it. Judging from internal evidence, this punch recipe dates from a time when large refrigerators were uncommon; but if you have sufficient capacity, I think refrigerating it would be a good idea. Spoiled citrus juice is nasty, and it would be a terrible waste of all that hootch.
When you’re ready to serve the punch, stir it well, then add ice and twelve quarts of chilled champagne, and stir again. If I’ve added the numbers up correctly, it should make something on the order of 14 gallons of punch, not counting the ice.
Like all such recipes, this one is advertised to have a pleasant, innocent, refreshing taste, while packing a wallop like a salvo from a 12-inch gun. It boasts the additional distinction of having, on some unspecified occasion, flattened Admiral Dewey. Perhaps it did. I have a vague memory of Paula Lieberman once telling me about a jolly trick involving alcohol and grapefruit juice, but I don’t remember it well enough to judge whether this recipe uses the same trick.
If you haven’t started a week in advance but still want to produce that effect, lay in a large supply of limes and some Cachaça, plus some sugar and ice, and set to making Caipirinhas. Cachaça is Brazilian white lightning. It’s made from sugarcane but tastes nothing like rum. In fact, it’s vile stuff—except, alchemically, in Caipirinhas.
Recipe: Take one lime, two ounces of Cachaça, and sugar to taste (maybe 2 tsp. or so). Cut the lime into wedges, put them into a heavy-bottomed glass peel-side-down, and muddle them with the sugar. “Muddle” means you take something like a heavy wooden spoon handle and gently mush the sugar into the limes. Brazilians have dedicated lime-mushing implements, but a heavy wooden spoon handle will do just fine. When you’re finished, add the Cachaça and stir well. Add ice.
If you can get hold of them, Mexican sour oranges work well too.
I don’t know what it is about Caipirinhas that gives them their evil potency, or their insidious power to make you think that drinking more of them is a good idea. My theory is that your poor system, poleaxed by the initial shock of Cachaça, registers the lime juice and sugar as a salvific dose of electrolytes and sucrose: good idea, drink more of this. Two Caipirinhas are as much as anyone should drink who doesn’t honestly expect to die before the alarm clock goes off next morning.