Edouardo Jordan’s Juneteenth Red Punch
One of the chef Edouardo Jordan’s fond memories is making the punch for family celebrations; he’d add layers of fresh fruit and juices to Hawaiian Punch or Tropical Punch Kool-Aid. Red drinks are a staple at Juneteenth gatherings for African-Americans across the U.S. The color is a reminder of the red kola nuts and bissap (commonly known as hibiscus tea), which made their way to the Americas as part of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Cognac salutes black World War II soldiers’ love affair with the spirit and its continued popularity among African-American spirit drinkers, but any dark rum or whiskey is an excellent substitution. Find the best ripe strawberries for the simple syrup, and look for pineapple and pomegranate juices with no added sugar.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1 ½cups fresh strawberries (about 6 ounces), hulled and halved
- 1cup granulated sugar
- ½cup sliced (unpeeled) fresh ginger (about 2 ounces)
- 6ounces strawberry syrup, cooled
- 4 ½ounces Cognac
- 3ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
- 3ounces unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 2ounces lime juice
- 3ounces ginger beer
- Ice, for serving
- 12ounces dry sparkling wine
- Fresh strawberry or pineapple, dehydrated pineapple, or crystallized ginger, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Prepare the syrup: In a medium saucepan, bring strawberries, sugar, ginger and 3/4 cup water to a simmer over low heat and cook for 15 minutes until liquid reduces. (If it starts to boil, lower the heat as needed.) Remove from heat, cover with a lid and let it cool to room temperature.
Step 2Strain cooled syrup through a fine-mesh strainer, mashing the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible. (You should have about 1 cup.) Refrigerate until ready to use. (The syrup will last for 1 week.)
Step 3Batch the cocktail: In a large mason jar or pitcher, combine 6 ounces syrup with the Cognac, juices and ginger beer. Stir with a wooden spoon and seal. (You can mix it up and refrigerate to 1 day in advance.)
Step 4When ready to serve, fill six old-fashioned glasses with ice. Stir the batched cocktail (in case it settled while chilling) and divide it equally among glasses. Top each glass with 2 ounces wine and garnish, if desired.