November 2, 2012

What I’m Drinking: The Astor

For many moons, our country has been deficient. I’m not sure what we did, exactly (though I can guess—thank you very much Kermit the Frog), but for years we irritated the find people of Sweden. This led to many sad things: a lack of tall blonds, a distinct problem with meatballs, and, most tragically, the complete absence of Swedish Punsch in every single bar from east to west. Swedish Punsch once was a staple of bar shelves and cocktails and home liquor cabinets. With a base of the sugar-cane based spirit Batavia Arrack combined with other flavorings, it had a taste all its own and a devoted following (I’m sort-of guessing on this last point, as most who had it when it was available way back when are sadly now at that big bar in the afterlife). And then some time after Prohibition it vanished. Why! Why! Why!

Well, I certainly don’t know. But, the main point, and what’s causing me to not shake my fist at the sky, is that it’s back and you should become a fan. I’ve recently been dipping into a bottle of Kronan Swedish Punsch and it’s darn delicious. It boasts a seriously yummy toffee-molasses-and-spice taste, with some smokiness smudged in for good measure. The story is that in Sweden it’s had warm with pea soup. Hmm, sounds great (please, everyone agree—we don’t want to irritate the Swedes again). It’s also great in cocktails, including one called the Astor that I found first in the rightly revered Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Albert Crockett. Try it whydontcha.

The Astor

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces gin (I use Sun Liqor Gun Club Gin and it was swell)

1 ounce Kronan Swedish Punsch

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full of ice cubes. Add everything. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.


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