The Doctor + Swedish Punsch
There are a not insignificant number of older cocktail recipes that call for an ingredient called Swedish Punsch and that tend to bring the budding cocktailista to a shuddering halt. What is this exotic ingredient? Does it even still exist? It most certainly does and with a little help from regular reader Quiddity (credit where due) I shall attempt to explain. Swedish Punsch is a traditional Swedish (duh!) tipple that used to be an actual punch of Batavia Arrack, spices and sugar but has for some considerable time become available in bottled form and has thus evolved into more of a liqueur. In Sweden – according to my source Q – there are quite a number of different punsches which vary in flavour and sweetness. I have access to just one, which Q says is one of the sweeter types so I have to advise you to adjust any amounts to taste if you have a different one. The Finns also have a sweet spot for this stuff and make their own versions. The Carlshamns Flaggpunsch pictured very recently moved its production into Finland and I’m prepared to bet that raised some eyebrows on both sides of the border – especially given those blue and yellow flags on the label!
The problem with The Doctor cocktail is that there are a squillion-and-one different recipes that have little in common apart from the Swedish Punsch. Early versions were Punsch and lime juice but later (and I’m still talking 70-80 years ago!) Jamaica rum started to creep into many recipes. No matter. I’ve picked one that I like and that is also moderately typical of the later style. And then fucked with it. At heart this version is a Daiquiri that simply uses Punsch as a sweetening agent instead of sugar. But while sweet it’s still not as sweet as sugar syrup so it needs a little help. Now Myers’s rum can certainly lend a hand here being a touch on the sugary side itself while still being Jamaican (most are pretty dry). And if we’re using Jamaican rum there’s no way we’re leaving out the superbly funky Smith & Cross, especially as it even has another Doctor recipe on the back of the bottle. Our work here is done – other than to balance our drink. I like the proportions below but that still might be a touch tart for some, in which case cut back on the lime juice a little. Now I should warn you in advance that with a liqueur and two kinds of rum, one of them Navy strength, the Doctor packs quite a punsch (yeah, sorry) so sip with care. The name? Well as we know many early cocktails were supposed to be medicinal and it seems likely that this one hung on to that concept all this time. To your health!
1oz / 30ml Myers’s dark Jamaican rum.
1oz / 30 ml Swedish Punsch (I used Carlshamns).
0.75oz / 22ml Smith & Cross Jamaican rum.
0.75oz Fresh lime juice.
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled Champagne coupé.
Garnish with a twist of lime peel.
Toast doctors, nurses and everyone else fighting the Covid-19 wars.