Swedish Punsch may sound like unfriendly Ikea™ furniture, but it’s actually a sweet, citrusy, rum or arrack-based liqueur worthy of your home bar. Some of the flavors, like caramel, smoke, and toffee may lend Punsch to fall and winter cocktails, and we won’t discourage its use there, but Punsch is also a fun modifier for spring and summer drinks with its adaptability to fruit juice, rum, and brandy. We’ve even started working it into Tiki cocktails.
There is an emerging list of solid brands available for purchase in the United States, but you can also make it at home. So, how can you do that?
Alex’s Swedish Punsch Recipe
- 2 cups aged rum
- 1 ½ cups Batavia Arrack – This can be harder to find, so you may want to call ahead or check the website of your favorite liquor store to locate
- 2 cups of spiced tea, double-strength brewed (Chai is common and all right, but you have lots of options here—the mystic Pu erh or the smoky Lapsang Souchong are great choices
- 8 crushed cardamom pods (throw these in with the tea)
- 2 cups Muscovado sugar
- 3-4 lemons sliced thinly (peels and flesh)
- Combine the sliced lemons, rum, and arrack in a large glass container that can hold at least 5 cups. Cover and steep for 6 hours.
- Make your tea with double strength (twice as much as you’d use for making tea alone) and add in the sugar to dissolve and the cardamom pods to flavor. Be sure to do this with plenty of time to cool, including if you need to throw it in the fridge.
- After 6 hours, pour out the liquor from the lemon-rum-arrack container (straining out the lemon) into a larger container of at least 7 cups in size. Add the tea from the fridge to the large container with the rum-arrack. Filter if you’d like, but in any case, it is set and mellow for at least 24 hours. This will be tasty enough to drink on ice, serve warm/hot as a tea, or in a cocktail.
If that sounds like too much work, we recommend Kronan Swedish Punsch that costs about $30 if you can find it at the liquor store.
A few cocktails to choose from:
Doctor Cocktail (pulled from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
- 2 oz. Jamaican rum
- 1 oz. Swedish Punsch
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- Shake and strain and garnish with a lime peel.
- With Rye Whiskey instead of Rum, this is called a Hesitation Cocktail
Boomerang Cocktail (modified from Savoy Cocktail Book)
- 1 oz. Woodford Reserve Rye (subbed for Canadian Whiskey)
- 1 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
- 1 oz. Kronan Swedish Punsch
- ¼ oz. fresh grapefruit juice (subbed for dash of lemon juice)
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- ½ oz. Swedish Punsch
- 1 ½ oz. Calvados
- ½ oz. Light Rum
- Stir and strain over one large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass
- Switching out the Rum for Grapefruit Juice makes a delicious Diki Diki
Chutes and Ladders
- 1 1⁄2 oz Reposado tequila
- 1 oz Swedish Punsch
- 1 oz Cocchi Americano
- 1⁄2 oz Lime juice
- 1 barspoon Simple syrup
- Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with an orange peel
- 1 1/2 oz. Calvados
- 1/3 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1/3 oz. Swedish Punsch
- 1 1/2 oz. gin
- 1 tbsp. Swedish punsch
- juice of 1/2 lemons
- Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, straight-up.
- 1 1/2 oz. aged rum
- 3/4 oz. dry vermouth
- 3/4 oz. Swedish Punsch
- 1 dash grenadine
A LOT more recipes including Swedish Punsch can be found in The Savoy Cocktail Book.