St. Cecilia's Punch
Adapted from "The Glory of Southern Cooking" by James Villas
French and West Indian flavors combine in this fizzy South Carolina Low Country punch named after the St. Cecilia Musical Society in Charleston where it was first served. Dark rum, champagne, and club soda are stirred together with brandy-marinated lemon and pineapple slices and a green-tea-infused simple syrup. The herbal, warm flavors of this punch make it perfect for gracing the holiday table or serving at any social gathering.
Game plan: You can make the brandy-infused fruit and tea-infused simple syrup the day before. Cover and refrigerate, then transfer to a punch bowl and add the remaining ingredients when you’re ready to serve.
- 1/2 medium pineapple, peeled and cored
- 4 medium lemons, thinly sliced and seeded
- 2 cups brandy
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup green tea leaves (from about 10 tea bags)
- 3 (750-milliliter) bottles brut sparkling wine or champagne, chilled
- 1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
- 2 1/2 cups dark rum, chilled
- 1 ice block
1Thinly slice the pineapple into rounds, then cut the rounds into quarters. Place them in a large nonreactive bowl. Add the lemons and brandy and stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature while you make the tea mixture.
2Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, add the tea leaves, and stir to combine. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
3Hold a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl with the pineapple-lemon mixture and strain the tea mixture into the bowl (if there are large flecks of tea leaves, line the strainer with a coffee filter before straining). Cover the bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.
4When ready to serve, transfer the fruit-brandy mixture to a 7-quart punch or serving bowl. Gently stir in the sparkling wine, club soda, and rum (do not overmix or your punch will be flat). Float the ice block in the punch and serve immediately.
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