When you love your guests and want them to know it, make this powerful and premium punch. It's yet another winner from Jerry Thomas's 1862 How To Mix Drinks by way of David Wondrich and was featured in the December 2009 issue of Esquire magazine. (Do go subscribe; they really have been keeping the quality very high lately and we often read it cover to cover).
One key to this punch is the oleo saccharum – the potent oil which lemon peels will give up to sugar after half an hour or so. There was no liquid in the pot shown in the picture on the right when the peels and sugar were first stirred together. It's magic! (Well, fine, it's osmosis, but that's as good as magic).
As with all good punches, freeze up a big piece of ice using a small bowl 48 hours before you'll be serving.
On the day of your party, peel 1 dozen lemons, getting as little pith as possible. Put them in 2 or 3 gallon pot and muddle them with 1 cup sugar. Leave them alone for 30 minutes and then come back to marvel at the delicious lemon oil exuded.
Add 2 bottles of a nice smoky single-malt Scotch – we recommend Laphroaig – and 2 bottles rye whiskey – Wondrich was right about how wonderful Sazerac is here. Stir, then put in 1 gallon boiling water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover and let cool.
When you pour it over your big ice block in your punch bowl later, add 4 thinly sliced, de-seeded lemons and grate half a nutmeg over the top.
Stunning. Possibly literally. This is a 44 proof punch. Put out the small glasses.