The Historic Spirit To Spice Up Your Holiday Drinks

Punch conjures images of a post-First Communion reception, a blend of 7-Up, frozen lemonade, and pineapple juice. But this week, Minnesota Monthly editor Rachel Hutton and MPR host John Birge talk alcoholic punches, the most popular social beverage in colonial America, and a perfect addition to your holiday gatherings.

Punches were the first mixed drinks, predating cocktails. If you want to go super authentic, pick up a bottle of an Indonesian spirit called Batavia Arrack—a funky, aromatic, rice-based spirit that was the precursor to rum. Rachel says that you may not want to drink it by itself—but when mixed, it will heighten the flavor of the punch.

Batavia Arrack was a primary punch ingredient several hundred years ago, but had fallen off the radar. Recently, a locally based rare spirits importer brought it back to the U.S. because of bartenders’ interest in re-creating historic drinks. It’s great for hosting because you can prepare it in batches, and its historic quality makes for a unique drink, sure to spark conversation. Find it at Surdyk’s

If you’re in need of a drink to serve at the kid’s table, try MNMO’s Harvest Punch.

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