A_Midnight_Modern_ConversationBack in my college days, I thought that punch equalled a 1.5l bottle of Silver Bacardi mixed together with a few cans of tropical flavored Hawaiian Punch.  After a few different occasions where this was the beverage of choice, I had enough to last me a lifetime and moved on to other less cloying things like IPA.  In fact, I hadn’t had any punch for a few decades until I read David Wondrich’s phenomenal book Imbibe! back in 2007.  I decided to make a batch of Philadelphia Fish House Punch for my first effort, and there’s been no turning back for me.  Granted, there is a bit of extra work involved than just emptying bottles into a large bowl (oleo-saccharum, anyone?), but it pays off in spades.  Not only is a real punch incredibly tasty, but you realize why punches are gaining popularity again.  These days, many of the best bars offer punch bowls on the menu, and some are even served with antique cups.

Here’s the recipe for PFHP (luckily, it doesn’t actually call for any fish).

Philadelphia Fish House Punch
(Servings: 18 – 20)
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, peeled and peels reserved
4 cups black tea (or water)
1 cup lemon juice
4 cups rum, Jamaican
2 cups cognac
1/2 cup peach brandy
Garnish: lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg

In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon peels, and rub together to release the citrus oils into the sugar. (This is called oleo-saccharum).
Allow oleo-saccharum to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Dissolve sugar with warm water or tea.
Add rum, cognac, lemon juice and peach brandy and stir to mix.
Add a block of ice to chill, and continue to add smaller pieces of ice for desired dilution.
Garnish with lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg.
Ladle into individual glasses.

Another quite popular punch is Planter’s Punch, the recipe for which was first published as a poem in the New York Times on August 8, 1908.

Planter’s Punch
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

Pretty easy to figure out what the measurements are, if you’re handy with a jigger.



Chapala is a town in Jalisco, Mexico (where tequila is created) on the shore of Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. The cocktail is a bit watery too.

I tend to avoid most orange juice based cocktails because the flavor and sweetness tend to overwhelm all of the other components.  However, that being said, if you use a reposado tequila as indicated in the recipe, the flavors are fairly well-balanced.

I opted to use Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s awesome Pearl Diver glass instead of the listed Hurricane glass for two reasons. 1) The amount of liquid is too small for a typical Hurricane, and 2) this glass just looks more stunning.

The cocktail itself is average, but I’d rather see it served up, rather than over crushed ice.  It dilutes rather quickly.

Oh, and finding orange blossoms in upstate New York is nigh impossible. So, good luck with that.

Chapala Cocktail
1.5oz reposado tequila
1.5oz orange juice
0.75oz lemon juice
0.25oz grenadine
Garnish: orange blossoms or an orange wedge

Shake and strain into hurricane glass. Fill glass with crushed ice. Garnish with orange blossoms, if using, and orange wedge.


Highland Park, The Orkney Single Malt with Viking Soul recently announced the newest addition to its core range: MAGNUS. Exclusive to the US and Canada, this expression celebrates the distillery’s founder Magnus Eunson, a butcher and church officer by day, and bootlegger by night. Magnus was a direct descendant of the Vikings who settled on Orkney hundreds of years ago. His legacy of attention to detail and passion for whisky making remains today and little has changed in the way Highland Park is crafted in over 220 years. Jason Craig, Highland Park Brand Director, said: “Magnus Eunson set up his illicit still at a small cottage at High Park, overlooking Kirkwall and it remains the site of our home today. We say that our distillery was founded in 1798 –but in truth, that’s just the year that the authorities finally caught up with Magnus – he was certainly making whisky before that!”

The label in striking gun-metal foil on the bottle represents M for MAGNUS. It has been created in the decorative Viking art style called Urnes, which complements the recently redesigned 12 and 18 Year Old packaging, just released in North America. The design harks back to Viking storytelling and features the legend of a lion locked in battle with the forces of evil in the form of serpent-like dragons. The top of the bottle also features the heads of two serpent-like dragons as well as the brands signature The Orkney Single Malt with Viking Soul.

Gordon Motion, Master Whisky Maker, commented: “I wanted to create a whisky which had the lightly-peated characteristics familiar to the Highland Park family but with a sweeter and more profound vanilla flavor profile. The result is a whisky crafted using a high proportion of Sherry seasoned American oak casks along with refill casks which give MAGNUS its citrus, vanilla and lightly smoky taste.”

Highland Park Magnus (80 proof)
Visual: Pale gold.
Nose: Fine high sherry notes married with crisp, slightly smoked malt. Dessert in a glass.
Taste: Again, the sherry supports and works in tandem with the malt creating a lovely slightly sweet and ethereal whisky. There’s a delicacy which is befitting a tribute to a forefather of the distiller’s art.
Finish: Long with the sherry trailing off and leaving a soft woody char on the back palate that acts as a palate cleanser.
Overall: We at GSN are really loving these new Highland Park whiskies. For the price point, we recommend picking up a few for the upcoming holiday season as gifts, and one for you to proudly display on your backbar.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Highland Park Whisky


Andy Heidel immediately creates a welcoming atmosphere in his book with the line “Making drinks should be fun. Drinking them? Even more fun”. Guide to the Cocktail Galaxy is a whirlwind of recipes, anecdotes, hints, and much much more. Heidel invites seasoned professionals, social drinkers, and amateurs to try their hand at mixing one of over 100 geek-themed concoctions. From fan favorites such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars to the underground followings of Farscape or Lost in Space, Heidel includes a unique cocktail creation or variation on a classic for you. You are  welcomed on the first page just as kindly as if you were to visit the famous Doctor Who Bar in Brooklyn, NY [The Way Station].

Heidel seamlessly weaves humor throughout with personal stories about his first “cocktail” to the mobile bar he created in high school. We here at Good Spirits News enjoyed reading about each cocktail and it’s creation, and we enjoyed tasting some of these cocktails even more! The book is equal parts mixology and hilarity with a heavy dash of geek thrown in.  However, the garnish on top of everything are the clever comments included with each recipe. If you explore Heidel’s world of spirits and liquors, he will “entertain and educate you along the way”. As the Doctor would say, “Geronimo!”

Review by Autumn Ellen Rose

2.5 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
0.75 oz. Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
1/2 tsp Cherry Heering
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Pour ingredients into mixing glass, stir with cracked ice for 20 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

(1626 was the year the very first Manhattan was purchased, albeit about 250 years before the cocktail came to be. Prof. Jerry Thomas was the original king of cocktails during the golden era of the late 1800’s.  The first bar he opened was in the same building as P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in Manhattan  If you happened to go through the museum’s egress thinking it was another attraction, you could always console yourself with a cocktail made by the “Professor”.)

Qtimthumb.phpuick!  How many classic crème de menthe based cocktails can you name? Go!

That’s what I thought.  Highlight the area to the right to see if you got them all -> Grasshopper, Stinger

Crème de menthe is one of those liqueurs that once you try, you will never forget.  For obvious reasons it is used in a fair amount of obscure Irish cocktails, but personally I avoid those.

Crème de menthe is not a cream based liqueur, but rather a category of spirits known as crèmes, which are more syrupy and sugar laden than standard liquors.  It is made from Corsican mint or peppermint and is either colorless (white) or vibrantly green.  Most products today use food coloring to achieve the effect.  The flavors are exactly the same however.

If you want to try making your own at home, here’s a recipe courtesy of Marcia Simmons, co-author of DIY Cocktails which I have previously reviewed here.

DIY Creme de Menthe
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

  • Measure out 1 cup of mint leaves and tear them in quarters Place mint leaves in a sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and let steep for 12 hours.
  • After steeping is complete, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.
  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka.
  • Take the additional 1/2 cup of mint leaves, tear them, and add them to the jar. Shake and let steep for 10 hours.
  • Strain twice to remove all mint leaves, keep in resealable bottle. Keeps for two months.

The GSN staff will be celebrating Arnold Palmer’s birthday this Sunday, September 10, and you should too! What better way to celebrate his legacy, than by surprising your golf-loving friends with the limited-time Arnold Palmer Collector’s Edition bottle by Ketel One Vodka. 

To celebrate the life and legacy of their dear friend, legendary golfer and father, Arnold Palmer, the Nolet family designed this commemorative bottle as an ode to Mr. Palmer’s extraordinary achievements on and off the course. We hope you’ll join us this Sunday in raising a special Happy Birthday toast to the icon, Arnold Palmer.


You can purchase the Arnold Palmer Collector’s Edition bottle by Ketel One Vodka by visiting www.reservebar.com or making a trip to your local retailer.


Arnie’s Signature
1.5 oz Ketel One® Vodka
Lemon twist

Stir with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a rocks glass over one large ice-cube or a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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