Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I have loved the idea of punch ever since my mother made it for my 11th and then 12th birthday parties. They were evening parties. Very grown up. The punch was ginger ale, and fizzy lemonade and selzer water and sliced fruit. It felt wicked and sophisticated and premature, all at the same time. It sat in a big, big, glass bowl. It was scooped out into our glasses. It fizzed.
About a decade later we recreated that punch, for a lunch under the Constantia tree; except the ginger ale was Champagne and the fruit - fat black cherries and sweet slices of yellow peach - was macerated in old cognac. At least one guest has not forgiven us. Fortunately he was one of the few that did not drive home.
Punch still makes me think of fringed, short skirts, of crushed linen pants, of shade under cool Lost
Generation summer trees. It is very wishful thinking. Which pretty much sums up my approach to life.
Our punch is tamer. Messier. But its spirit is alive. A collection of pale wines accumulates in the fridge. A bit of this, a bit of that. A French rose, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a Semillon from Oregon. They clutter up the fridge. So into the tall, chilled glass carafe they go, poured on top of sliced apricots. They are followed by a gulp of vermouth and a circumspection of St Germain, sparkling water for fizz, ice and some mint.
And it is very good.