Swedish Punsch is a product from Sweden (surprise surprise!), based on Arack. Although it is still available, it is much harder to get hold of then it was. The Batavia Arak came from Java and South-East Asia and was made from distilled sugar cane and Javanese rice.
Sweden is a long way from this part of the world and so you may be wondering what the connection is? The answer is the Svenska Ostindiska Companiet (Swedish East India Company), which was formed after the success of the English and Dutch East India Company. Although not as influential as its counterparts, the company lasted 82 years and brought many goods back to Sweden, including the precursor to Swedish Punsch.
Tasting Swedish Punsch, I am aware of some rum-like qualities and, in fact, Cocktail Database suggests that it was often mixed with low-quality rum in order to improve the rum’s flavour. There also seems to be an on-going debate as to whether it should be served hot or cold.
It is a straw-coloured liquid with a nose of honey and thick, dark rum. It has a wonderful texture, so thick and silky, like honey, and slides around your mouth. There’s some warmth and it’s reasonably balanced in terms of sweetness, as well as being herbal, very sippable and altogether rather delicious.After Dinner Cocktail
[30ml Swedish Punsch, 5ml Lime Juice, 15ml Cherry Brandy – SHAKE]
Superb: rather rummy, with a slightly musky start, which is followed by lime and some pleasant sweet cherry notes. I thought that this was a good palette cleanser and a fine digestif cocktail. Mrs. B was rather keen, too.
[20ml Swedish Punsch, 20ml Rye Whiskey, 20ml Dry Vermouth, 1 Dash Lemon Juice, 1 Dash angostura Bitters – STIR]
This cocktail was dark amber in colour and had a rich buttery biscuit nose. Smooth and soft initially, the flavour builds to form a rich drink with a biscuit-y nuttiness and a hint of creamy butter. Rather involved.
[30ml Swedish Punsch, 20ml Lime Juice – SHAKE]
To me, this tasted strongly of dark sugar, almond and cherry stones. There was also a spice, similar to allspice or pimento, that works well with the slightly tart lime.
[35ml Swedish Punsch, 10ml Ornage Juice, 5ml Lemon Juice, 1 Dash Grenadine – Shake]
Rather sweet, the strong flavour of the punch is combined with a little jammy pomegranate in this cockail. The citrus juices liven up the drink, making it rather succulent.
Pooh Bah Cocktail
[15ml Swedish Punsch, 15ml Gin, 15ml Light Rum, 5ml Apricot Brandy – STIR]
This had a thick flavour: herbal and quite sweet. It may be too sickly for some, but the Dry Gin does even it out a little. This straw-yellow drink is rather liqueur-like and seems to be a relic of a time when bar patrons had a sweeter palette.
[10ml Swedish Punsch, 30ml Calvados, 10ml Light Rum – STIR]
Fruity, with a sweet herbal finish. There’s a good dry/sweet balance, with a hint of light butteriness.
[15ml Swedish Punsch, 15ml Light Rum, 10ml Lemon Juice, 10ml Orange Juice – SHAKE]
Fresh and fruity, with a slight, but not unpleasant, muskiness. I noted flavours of soft, burnt sugar and spice that was rather appetite-rousing.
Both Mrs. B and I thought this was a very interesting product, rather unique with the nearest substitute being Pimento Dram, but that’s a bit of a stretch.
My favourite drinks was the Roulette and Mrs. B’s was the After Dinner.