Welcome to our new series called the Thirsty Wanderer. Guest blogger, Patrick Rainwater, will highlight some of his favorite bars (and drinks) locally and abroad. Enjoy this trip down tippling paradise to the Punch Room at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC. Read to the end for a New Orleans Milk Punch recipe.
My Fellow Traveling Tipplers,
I was asked recently what the holiday season means to me. Upon reflection, I realized that in addition to spending time with friends and family in the warmth of our homes as the chill-air sets in, it’s also about celebrating. If you follow the ancient Catholic calendar, the season that begins on Christmas Day continues through Epiphany kicking off the Carnival season that culminates on Mardi Gras. But for those of us who don’t and are really just along for the ride…..hopefully a ride that is well lubricated….what better libation to raise the spirit than punch?
And what better place to begin your holiday season than at The Punch Room at the Ritz Hotel in Charlotte, NC? It’s a truly beautiful space – urbane and sophisticated but energetic….it’s the kind of place where you would take someone you actually liked. And if you’re tired of having to scream at your drinking companion over the drunk bachelorette party at the next table, you’ll find The Punch Room a pleasant oasis. The cocktails are perfect, but you’re there for the punch, so live dangerously and order whatever the mad scientist behind the bar recommends. That mad scientist is Bob Peters who has an encyclopedic knowledge of booze and the history of cocktails, shared at a recent mixology class, for example, that the word “punch” is derived from the ancient Sanskrit “panc” meaning “five”…or five ingredients: sugar, spice, booze, water and citrus. What we know as punch today came to us from India via Britain in the 17th Century.
Fascinating, I know…but if you can’t quite squeeze the Punch Room into your holiday itinerary until the new year, your consolation prize is this nice little concoction you can whip up yourself. It’s the “eccentric southern cousin” to eggnog…you know, the crazy cousin who you always secretly hope shows up to the party…
New Orleans Milk Punch
I would mix this in a large pitcher because it’s easier to serve and well, who has a punch bowl? This is a basic recipe and I encourage you to play around with the proportions.
- half gallon of whole milk
- 3 heaping tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar table spoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of good bourbon (start there and add more to taste)
Stir, and pour over ice into a classic highball glass. Garnish with a couple of shakes of nutmeg (or ground cinnamon).
You’ll love this and as my old pal Bertie Wooster would say: “Well, I don’t think I’m going too far when I say this just about takes the giddy biscuit!”
Until next time…..