In a world gone mad, our country, and in particular our city, can lay claim to a special place in the spectrum of sanity. We are way off to the that-boy-just-ain’t-right fringe.
Somewhere along the line, a marketing company or a really bored corporate executive who has nothing to do with marketing, comes up with the hackneyed idea to call some nondescript day on the calendar as National Day of Broomhandles, which also suggests the tag line, Grab Hold and Enjoy the Ride.
Whether you know it or not, just about every day has a designated cause or product associated with that particular 24-hour period. New Orleans, since we are who we are, takes some of these moments as good reasons to toss a party. Or we just make up our own commemorations. Refer to the recent White Linen, Dirty Linen, and Filthy Linen Nights in the Arts District, French Quarter, and Marigny on succeeding weekends in August.
I guess the tradition of dedicating every day to one thing or another can be attributed to ancient cultures, like the Greeks or the Romans, a program practiced into modern times by the Catholic Church. Today's saint's day is St. Robert Bellarmine, just in case you were wondering.
And, you ask, what does all this have to do with adult beverages? The rest of us are wondering why you did not ask that question about three paragraphs ago.
Well, to answer your most intelligent question, we are coming up on National Rum Punch Day this Saturday. Now go back and read the opening of this column and see if the rant makes any more sense. Likely does not but cut me some slack. It's not easy working up a little excitement for National Rum Punch Day. Performing a one-person wave looks even more stupid than a 70,000 persons wave.
A preparation for National Rum Punch Day can start the day before, this Friday, which is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and if you want to decompress slowly, the day after, Sunday, is World Gratitude Day, thanking everyone in sight through puffy eyes and furrowed brow. Maybe World Gratitude Day would be best spent writing e-mails to friends and family.
The first notice I had of National Rum Punch Day was from Caliche. That would be the rum house in Puerto Rico, not the strata of sedimentary rock found all over the earth, although the rum house is named after the stratum which is prevalent in Puerto Rico.
Caliche Rum is a six-generations’ operation and is actually a blend of four different aged white rums and distilled five times. Thought I would get all the numbers out of the way in one sentence.
Cali Rum Punch
Perfect for the large number of people you have invited to your house to celebrate, NRD. Okay, that’s National Rum Day. Have you been paying attention or just skimming this column?
1 liter bottle Caliche
1 bottle, 750 ml, sparkling wine, suggested a cava or a prosecco.
16 oz Ruby port.
12 oz curaçao liquor.
12 oz freshly squeezed and strained orange juice.
12 oz unsweetened pineapple juice.
8 oz freshly squeezed strained lemon juice.
8 oz light agave nectar.
1 large block of ice
1 cup of hulled and sliced strawberries
2 large lemons pitted and sliced
Handful of mint leafs.
In a large punch bowl combine the Caliche, port, curaçao, fruit juices and agave nectar, stir until well incorporated, refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve add the ice and garnishes to the bowl, gently stir in the sparkling wine. Serve in punch cups or if you are in New Orleans, a go-cup.
We are fortunate to have two of the most well-respected Tiki experts in the world in our midst, and if any culture knows rum, it’s Tiki. Many Tiki concoctions are properly filed under the Big Tent of Rum.
A relative new resident to New Orleans, but not a newcomer since he has always spent a lot of time here, is author Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. And the really exciting news is that very soon, Jeff will open a bar and a restaurant devoted to Tiki, which means it’s going to be crazy fun. More on that later as Latitude 29 gets closer to opening.
But I could not leave Jeff out of any discussion of National Rum Punch Day, although he probably wishes I had.
IMPROVED PLANTER'S PUNCH
By Jeff Berry
1 tablespoon organic white cane sugar
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1½ ounce black tea or orange pekoe tea, chilled
2 ounces dark Jamaican rum
Dissolve sugar in lime juice at bottom of a tall glass. Add tea and rum, fill with crushed ice and swizzle. The ice will settle after swizzling, so add more to fill. Garnish, or don’t, as you see fit. Jeff is so accommodating.
A one-year-old addition to the non-definable fabric of the French Quarter is Cane & Table, great name for a really classic, in a New Orleans sense, bar and restaurant. Overseen by cocktail guru Nick Detrich, who also brought us Cure on Freret Street and Bellocq at Lee Circle, Cane & Table is located at 1113 Decatur Street. Remember that because the joint does not have a sign, although Nick has given into convention and will soon post the street address on the building, but not prominently. Still, however, no sign of a sign.
Convent Cup Punch
By Nick Detrich
1 pint Cruzan Estate Diamond Light Rum
1/2 pint Arrack (Van Oosten Batavia Arrack is available stateside).
3/4 cup white Sugar
1 Bottle Red Wine (a young Tempranillo from Rioja or Ribera del Duero works best)
1 Pint boiling water
Combine the Sugar and the Nutmeg. Then peel the rinds of the oranges and allow the fruit to rest with the sugar and nutmeg for 1 hour (or longer if you are not in a rush). Juice the oranges, stir briefly, then add the boiling water and stir a bit more. Add the Rum, Arrack, Wine, and Brandy to the liquid, light stir, and strain. Excellent when served, hot or cold, the day after creation. This punch can be bottled and kept for up to a year, refrigerated in brown or green bottles.