Punsch - Drink Secrets


Punsch, also known as Caloric Punch, Arrack Punch, or Punch is a traditional Swedish liqueur and is very popular in the Nordic countries. Arrack, an original strong Indian liquor is a product of rice, sugar, water, palm sap, molasses, anise seed, date juice, and various flavorings. The Swedish East India Company started importing arrack in 1733. It was among the rich that it started to become popular. They were the only ones who could afford the imported goods during that time. Eventually, it spread through the different classes. It was imported from Java, Indonesia during the 17th century and became the chief ingredient in creating a new drink mixture called punch. The Chinese immigrants distilled arrack and have kept the process a secret until now. Arrack has a variety of flavors but it usually contains fruit flavors, or is of grain and sugar mixtures.

Origins of Punsch

Punsch and punch both pertain to the same mixed alcoholic beverage. But where did it really mean and where did it come from? It was said that both terms actually come from a Hindu word which means "five" -- five referring to the original ingredients used for making the wine. The British also had various uses for arrack then. They used it for mixing hot and cold drinks --hence, the name punch. The Swedish and British terms got mixed up but refer to the same concoction of having different alcohol mixtures in a drink.


During the old days, punsch was served warm. Ingredients such as sugar, citrus, lemon, tea, and hot water were added to arrack and heated. This is similar to how Germany, France and England drank their brew. Although during the 19th century, ready-made punsch was already sold. From then, it started to be drunk chilled. It is still served warm during winter together with hearty pea soup in Finland and Sweden. This liqueur may also serve different purposes. This wine may also be served as a dessert wine with tea and coffee or just together with some cheeses. The sweetness of the wine gives that perfect ending to a great meal. This wine is also used for flavoring the glogg which is a Scandinavian wine.

Punsch in the modern day

The modern day punsch has a sweet, clear yellow color which may vary from a light golden to dark yellow. The sweetness of this wine may have accompanying flavors of fruits, chocolate, almond, whiskey and tobacco. It has a distinct sweet, smoky rum flavor. Some common Nordic brands are: Carlshamns Flaggpunsch, Cederlunds Caloric, Facile Punsch, Trosa Punsch, and Helmi Arrakkipunssi.

Punsch coming to America

Swedish punsch was not readily available in America before but will soon be accessible courtesy of the Haus Alpenz, which is a Minnesota based wine importer. The company aims to resurrect cocktails during the pre-Prohibition. The wine has gone through some improvements for the American market and Eric Seed, the owner, together with Henrik Facile, an oenologist, came up with an American version which will be marketed under the brand name of Kronan. It may be used for simple drinks. You can drink it straight up, warmed, or chilled.

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