A punch bowl, for those who have yet to experience the massive cocktail, is a large bowl of alcohol, usually more than one kind, and various mixers in the form of fruit juice and/or cordials. By design, it’s meant for more than one person. And it’s a lot more fun than two flutes of Champagne or a bottle of wine.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, you could make the Scorpion Bowl from the Pacific Seas tiki bar at Clifton’s, the downtown L.A. cafeteria, or the Old One Two from the Spare Room, the bar with the bowling alley at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, for your significant other. Both venues are known for their punch bowls and their quiet, dark corners, where you can sip and canoodle to your heart’s content.
The Scorpion Bowl, the stronger of the two punches, is a combination of cognac, gin and light rum, with orange juice, lime juice and orgeat. It’s a citrus-forward cocktail slashed with three strong liquors, each balanced and curbed by the orange juice.
If you happen to have a tiki-style bowl with a center cup for a flaming crouton or lime peel, by all means serve your Scorpion Bowl with a little fire, like they do at Clifton’s. Use lemon extract for an orange flame or a little Bacardi 151 if you want your flame to burn blue. And for a finishing touch, sprinkle a little cinnamon on the flame to make it sparkle. Just think of all this fire as a nod to a flame burning with eternal love, or to your inner pyromaniac. You could also skip the candles and have a quiet dinner, lighted only by punch bowl light.
The Old One Two is a little mellower, made with cognac, berries, lemon juice and sugar, then topped with Champagne. Just be sure to make a show of the Champagne – maybe pour it from an exaggerated height. With the bubbly and the berries, you could even call this enormous cocktail romantic. Serve it in a large bowl surrounded by rose petals, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Lighted on fire or not, just think of these punch bowls as a little liquid courage for whatever you have in store for the evening: a romantic date, a dance party, an evening on the couch with Netflix, or dinner for one, two or 10.
The Old One Two
20 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.
40 blackberries, plus extra berries for garnish
7 1/2 ounces superfine sugar
7 1/2 ounces lemon juice, from about 3 large lemons
7 1/2 ounces VS cognac
20 ounces Brut sparkling wine or Champagne
Lemon wheels, for garnish
In a blender, combine the 40 blackberries, sugar and lemon juice and puree. Strain, removing any seeds and particles.
Place the puree with the cognac and ice in a large cocktail shaker and shake to chill for about 30 seconds.
Pour the mixture into a punch bowl and add ice. Top with sparkling wine, use a ladle to lightly stir, and garnish with plenty of blackberries and lemon wheels. Serve immediately.
Note: Adapted from a recipe from Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The scorpion bowl
6 minutes. Serves 2.
2 ounces orange juice, from about 1/2 orange
1 ounce lime juice, from about 1 lime
1 ounce orgeat syrup
1 ounce cognac
2 ounces gin
2 ounces light rum
In a scorpion or similar bowl or container holding just under 10 ounces, combine the orange and lime juices, orgeat syrup, cognac, gin and rum.
Note: Adapted from a recipe at Pacific Seas at Clifton’s in downtown Los Angeles.