Playing with Your Food: Of Punches and Fables

Working with this season's 'Unearthed' theme, our Playing With Your Food segment will aim to modernize various classic and kitsch recipes that have 'earth-inspired' names. We have teamed up with two of some of Vancouver's best bartenders and two up-and-coming Vancouver-based pastry chefs for this segment. This will be the first of three Playing with Your Food segments in our Unearthed issue.

We are in the height of summer, and we have not seen rain in well over a month. Below are two summer cocktail recipes that will definitely help us get through this major heat wave we have been experiencing this season. These recipes are developed by Guy Stowell (Bao Bei, Moonshine Tastings) and Lauren Mote (Bittered Sling Extracts, UVA Wine + Cocktail Bar, and this year's Diageo 2015 World Class Canadian Bartender of the Year). Bread & Butter Magazine has assigned Planter's Punch to Guy Stowell and the classic Grasshopper cocktail to Lauren Mote. These are their modernized renditions.

Cocktail Recipes: Guy Stowell and Lauren Mote
Words, Photography, and Art Direction: Issha Marie
Assistant Styling: Alison Page
3D Paper Origami: Along Came the Fold

Planter's Punch

Planter's Punch was thought to have its origins at the Planter's Hotel in Charleston, but its roots come from the rum-producing island of Jamaica. Cocktail historians have traced this cocktail back to a recipe printed in The New York Times in 1908, and even as far as 1878, where Fun, a London magazine, ran instructions for creating "Planter's Punch! A West Indian Recipe". The recipe is as follows:

A wine-glass with lemon juice fill,
of sugar the same glass fill twice.

Then rub them together until
the mixture looks smooth, soft, and nice.

Of rum then three wine glasses add,
and four of cold water please take.
A Drink then you'll have that's not bad —

At least, so they say in Jamaica.

Many variations using different sour-sweet-water-and-rum ratios have existed throughout decades of imbibing, and a brief history of the cocktail, for the curious, can be found in this Robert F. Moss article in the Charleston City Paper. Guy Stowell's version uses a homemade pomegranate and banana syrup for the sweet component, and pineapple juice for the sour component, transforming this drink into something decidedly more complex and tropical than the simple origins of the Planter's Punch. I have opted to rename Guy Stowell's Planter's Punch interpretation to Plots and Plantations, inspired, of course, by its tropical origins and all of the gardening imagery I cannot seem to shake off when I was in the midst of planning the direction of this shoot.

Plots and Plantations
by Guy Stowell

1.5 oz. Eldorado Run
0.5 oz. Martini Bianco
1 oz. lime juice
25 ml. fresh pomegranate and banana syrup
25 ml. fresh pineapple juice
a dash of plum bitters

To make the pomegranate and banana syrup, dissolve 1 cup of organic cane sugar with 1 cup of water and combine with a whole pomegranate and around 2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed. Bring to a boil and let the fruit macerate. Strain into a bottle.

Combine all of the ingredients into a mixing glass and stir. Pour over a glass of ice and garnish with pomegranate seeds, a small pineapple wedge, or an artfully-cut banana leaf.

The Grasshopper

The traditional Grasshopper cocktail gets its name from its green colour, which comes from the bright green of crème de menthe. It was a popular after-dinner drink in the 50's and 60's, and its most basic recipe consists of equal parts crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and cream, shaken with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.

Lauren's version of this admittedly campy classic replaces the bright green colour of the Grasshopper with 'green flavours'. Inspired by the anecdotal story of the ant and the grasshopper, this version takes "the aromatic tones from the classic Grasshopper cocktail, and is recreated with some modern updates". 

The Aesop Fable
by Lauren Mote

0.75 oz Green Chartreuse
0.25 oz Giffard Menthe Pastille Liqueur
0.50 oz White Creme de Cacao
0.50 oz B.G. Reynold’s “Don’s Spices No. 2” Syrup
2 dashes Bittered Sling Malagasy Chocolate Bitters
1.00 oz 35% Heavy Cream
1.00 oz Whole Milk

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake all ingredients with ice, and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve immediately.