A week ago, my workplace held its annual benefit party. Food was provided by Rafael Soler of Red Hook Ballfields and Brooklyn Flea fame, but we were in charge of coming up with a signature beverage for the bar. We went straight to LeNell of LeNell's Wines and Spirits. In keeping with our theme of 'Safe Harbor,' LeNell gave us a recipe for a hot punch--the Hot Hesper.
Here is her recipe:
2 parts black tea
1.5 parts good gin (she recommends DH Krahn)
1 part rye
1 part 100% pure cranberry juice (not cocktail or diluted)
sweeten to taste (I used agave)
Heat with 3 cloves and a cinnamon stick.
I mixed the whole thing up in a big gatorade style drink cooler, pouring bottle after bottle in and exclaiming at how boozy it was getting. It didn't look or smell so good, but heated and ladled into glass cups it was warm and wonderful. I didn't get to do more than taste, because I was working, but it seemed to have a warm reception. The tea and cranberry juice made it a lot more tannic and complex than the standard ginger ale, and I liked that. I'm looking forward to making it again, or trying other punches.