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MLK Day Cocktails

Posted on 13th January, by DrinkGal in Events, Insider. 2 Comments

Monday is Martin Luther King Day, a day when many reflect on how far this country has come in the fight for civil rights. Many of us think we still have a ways to go, but it’s worth a moment to think about the good Doctor, and all he stood for. Without him, it’s hard to say where we would be as a society.

He was born Michael King Jr. on January 15th, 1929, and every year millions of people get a long holiday weekend in the dead of winter when it’s too cold to BBQ, and the only logical thing is to cozy up indoors. In honor of the occasion, we gathered up some classic cocktails to commemorate and celebrate his life.  Is this a classic drinking holiday? No. But why not find reasons to celebrate every day of life? In the words of Dr. King… we have a dream.

Kings Jubilee
Invented by Harry Craddock of Savoy Cocktail Bar. If you can’t find Daiquiri Rum, don’t fret: it’s Cuban. We used an aged Puerto Rican Rum and enjoyed the result.

3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz Maraschino
1 1/2 oz Daiquiri Rum

Shake over ice and strain into cocktail glass

Dream Cocktail
Found in the Savoy Cocktail Book, though the version in Esquire Drinks by David Wondrich has orange bitters, this one does not. Feel free to add it if you wish. After all, you have to drink it, not us.

2 oz Brandy
1 oz orange curacao
1 dash of Absinthe

Shake over ice and strain into cocktail glass

Doctor Cocktail
This one is the Trader Vic variation of the Frank Meier (of the Ritz Bar in Paris) recipe, circa 1936. We found this variation in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (Ted Haigh), although we prefer it with just a little less lime juice, depending on how citrusy your Punsch is.

2 oz Jamaican Rum
1 oz Swedish Punch (might be hard to find! See below)
1 oz fresh lime juice

Shake over ice and strain into cocktail glass, garnish with a lime twist.



Well, Swedish Punsch is one of those things that is just starting to appear in the U.S., as importer Haus Alpenz has started bringing it stateside. Esquire featured it in the 2011 Bottles you will want to try, which is sure to help prompt more retailers to carry it. Here in Washington, we are in a huge state of flux with the passage of 1183 (privatization) so there is no telling who will have what when the dust settles, but for now we haven’t located any. (If you find a bottle, tell us!) If you are feeling crafty, you can make it yourself with the recipe below courtesy of Savoy Stomp. You are going to need to locate a bottle of Batavia Arrack, but it is much more readily available.

Swedish Punsch – Tales Version

2 750ml Bottles of El Dorado 5 Year Demarara Rum
1 750ml Bottle Batavia Arrack van Oosten.
8 lemons, sliced thin and seeded.
750ml Water.
8 teaspoons Yunnan Fancy China Black Tea.
2 crushed cardamom pods.
4 cups Washed Raw Sugar.

This makes a bit more than 3 litres.

Put sliced lemon in a resealable non-reactive container(s). Pour Rum and Batavia Arrack over lemons. Cover and steep for 6 hours.

Heat water and steep tea and cardamom in it for the usual 6 minutes. Pour through cheesecloth to remove tea leaves and cardamom pods.

Dissolve sugar in hot tea and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.

After 6 hours, pour rum off of sliced citrus, without squeezing fruit.

Combine tea syrup and flavored rum. Filter and bottle in a clean sealable container(s). Age at least overnight and enjoy where Swedish Punch is called for.


2 Responses to “MLK Day Cocktails”

  1. Ha, that Swedish Punch recipe lives on!

    Happily, it does scale down nicely, if you aren’t making punch for 50.

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