DIY Swedish Punsch

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Because of its funky spiced flavor, you’ll see a lot of pre-Prohibition cocktails that call for Swedish Punsch. But it’s also great in tiki drinks and as the base for a twist on Hot Buttered Rum. It can be hard to find, but you can make your own!

Swedish Punsch
1 lemon, sliced thin and seeded
1 clove
1 cardamom pod, crushed<
1 cup cachaça
1 Darjeeling (or similar) tea bag
1/2 cup hot water
2/3 cup sugar

Combine lemon, clove and crushed cardamom pod in a glass jar and add the cachaça. Let rest for 24 hours. Steep the tea bag in the hot water for 5 to 7 minutes, remove the bag and add sugar to make it into a syrup. Let it cool.

Fine-strain the infused cachaça mixture and then mix the infusion with the tea syrup. Let the mixture rest overnight.

The recipe I created and posted here was first published on Serious Eats in my DIY vs. Buy column.

Flaming Punches

Volcano Bowl Flaming Cocktail

Volcano Bowl Cocktail from Kitchen Riffs

Setting things on fire is a sure way to make sure your party is memorable. These flaming punches are fun to look at as well as fun to drink. The recipes may be elaborate, but they’re also damn impressive. Oh, and be safe and blah blah blah I am not liable for anything you do blah blah. Now on to the fun recipes for setting your booze on fire!

Flaming Skull Punch ~ The classic tiki combination of fruit, spice gets a boost from amaro, an ingredient not usually found in tiki drinks. (Fire and tiki are BFFs, however.)

Flaming Brandy Punch ~ Brandy, wine, citrus and spices just taste better after they’ve been set on fire.

Volcano Bowl ~ This three-rum tiki punch with grapefruit and maple syrup comes from Beachbum Berry so you know it has to be good.

Black Barrel Rum Punch ~ Drink like a pirate! In this case, pirates added maraschino liqueur, citrus and tea to their rum and then torched it. Sounds right to me!

Pineapple Cocktails

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from Boulder Locavore

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from Boulder Locavore

Spring has sprung and the sun is shining. (At least it is here. If it’s not sunny where you are, pretend it is.) The presence of pineapple in a cocktail is proven to increase warm-weather enjoyment. Science! So here are a few pineapple drinks to try this gorgeous spring. Tiny umbrella optional.

Fever Pitch ~ Pineapple mixed with cachaca, basil, Green Chartreues and celery bitters = sophisticated, complex and potentially mind-blowing.

Queen Califa ~ Adding rum agricole, falernum and allspice dram to pineapple puts this drink squarely in the tiki category. So you know it’s a good time.

Low-Cal Piña Colada ~ This “skinny” version has all the coconut and pineapple flavor, without most of the calories. But it tastes great regardless of the calorie count (or lack thereof).

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita ~ This is a good one for a backyard barbecue or lazy afternoon lounging outside.

Hotel Nacional Special ~ Another fun tiki drink … and another one that would be great for sipping outside.

Tiki and Tropical Drinks

Painkiller from Chow

I’ll soon be heading to Oahu to sip umbrella drinks by the beach. But no matter where you are, your cocktail shaker can transport you to a tropical place. Tiki drinks aren’t just for summer! Just make sure you’re all stocked up on rum. Here are some fun ones to try:

Banana Daiquiri ~ This is very simple for a tropical drink—even though blending is involved, it’s only a few common ingredients. And the result is refreshing and surprisingly delicious.

Mr. Bali Hai ~ A little bit of coffee flavor perks up this tiki cocktail. You wouldn’t think coffee and pineapple would go so well together. But they most definitely do!

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club ~ This is a fun take on the Daiquiri, with Cointreau and Falernum. You can easily make your own falernum, if you don’t already have some.

Planter’s Punch ~ No two recipes for this tiki classic are the same. This recipe has a little bit of sweetness without the avalanche of fruit flavors that can be overwhelming in some versions.

Painkiller ~ Creamy coconut with rum and orange … now that’s what you sip in paradise! Transform your living room into a tropical getaway with this tiki treat.

DIY vs. Buy: Get Tiki with Falernum

You may not have heard of falernum, but if you love Tiki cocktails then you probably love falernum. It’s a combination of lime and spices, either as a rum liqueur or a syrup. Give it a try!

Falernum is indispensable in Tiki drinks, brightening the sour notes of citrus and adding a hint of rich spice. But it also plays well with slightly bitter flavors. If you’re at all interested in Tiki cocktails, this stuff is a must-have for your home bar.

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Falernum? on Serious Eats

Photo by Liam Boylan