Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fisherman's Swizzle

This was the week of the engagement party. As mentioned in this space before, my son, the lawyer to be (next week is the graduation party,) is getting married, to an incredibly nice, generous, funny, etc. etc. woman. So, we gave them a party.
As also mentioned, I have to be on the lookout for opportunities to make stuff from The NYTHC because otherwise, it won't get eaten. This seemed like an opportunity to make one of the beverages since we aren't a family of punch drinkers. Actually, we don't drink hard liquor much at all, unless I have a mai tai attack. So this is the story of how Fisherman's Swizzle came to be, and is even now being spread across the land. Actually, I kind of doubt that it's being spread across the land right now, because it is 7:00 am and most people who experienced it last night are sleeping off its effects. The bartender wanted the recipe, so he may spread it around.
Now, I have finally, in my declining years, learned a thing or two about parties. Number one, it is better to start earlier and get things all ready than it is to loll around and then at the last minute be frantically trying to both clean and cook.
So, Thursday afternoon, after having spent the day shepherding a bunch of alternately sullen, perky and manic third grade girls around the Museum of American History, I decided to stop off at Giant for the non alcoholic contents of the Swizzle, having already bought the booze last Saturday when I still had a few bucks in my checking account. This recipe has a somewhat intimidating beginning. Squeeze the juice of 12 lemons and 36 oranges into a punch bowl. Huh? Okay. So I gamely proceeded to buy four large and heavy bags of oranges and two smaller bags of lemons, and some assorted other stuff, and cram them into my Trader Joe's bag. The District of Columbia is pretty pc in its government, and we have a bag law. You're supposed to bring your bags to the store, and a lot of people do. The citrus explosion didn't quite fit, however, so I was pretty laiden down when I went back out to the bus stop feeling like I was about to fill the Christmas stockings of an orphanage.
I lugged my burden on and off the bus, and up the hill to my house. After dinner, I started squeezing. At the party, various people gave me advice on gadgets I should have had, like the squeezer that works by pulling a lever, and the electric squeezer. Unfortunately, all I had was a little metal cone shaped thing that you stick the fruit on and twist. And twist. And twist.
As I squoze (past tense of the verb to squeeze) my mind wandered. Who were these fishermen? Since this wasn't a hot drink, I suspected they were not commercial fishermen, coming back from a stormy night on the Grand Banks with their boats laiden with cod. Were they sport fishermen? Did they have servants? Who the hell squeezed all these Goddamn oranges for their drinks? Their long suffering wives? And why swizzle? What means swizzle?
Finally, about 10:30 at night, I got it all squeezed, and decided, for reasons of preservation, to add the liquor to the juice swirling decoratively in my bread bowl. I dumped in 7 cups of assorted alcohol, and the sugar (less than the recipe called for, and not confectioners, because I didn't have confectioners), and took a taste. As you shall see, when you read the recipe, the last ingredient is soda water, that cuts some of the effect of undiluted booze. I took my first half glass straight, and cut the second with soda water. I went to bed feeling distinctly odd.
The swizzle was a huge success. It received advance publicity from two of Thomas's friends, who came over Saturday morning to help clean up the house. Around 3:00, they decided that this swizzle had better be tastetested. After a couple of glasses, they started planning a pirate theme and talking about how to erect a plank out a second floor window. Then, they texted all their friends, so people came in the door asking for the swizzle.

Fisherman's Swizzle

12 lemons
36 oranges
2 pounds confectioners' sugar (I used 2 cups of regular sugar)
2 cups cognac
2 cups peach brandy
3 cups Jamaica rum
4 quarts club soda

  1. Squeeze juice from the lemons and oranges into a punch bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar and stir until it dissolves.
  2. Add the congnac, peach brandy and rum.
  3. Just before serving, add the club soda and ice. (We kept it in pitchers and the bartender added the soda as he poured the punch. This is a little dicy if you don't have a bartender. You'll have your guests falling down drunk in no time.)

Makes two gallons.

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