Only the saddest of drinkers hunker down alone to tie one on. Alcoholic self-destruction, at it's best, is a team sport. Recovering from the boozing should be a group effort as well. And that's what we're here to help facilitate. As a public service to the hungover, every week we track down the best bartenders in America and ask them to share their favorite hair-of-the-dog remedies. This week, a cyclist/bartender creates a punch for all of your friends to replenish your depleted resources.
THE SPECIALIST: Freddy Tincher, bartender at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon
HIS ELIXER: Peloton Punch
ITS HISTORY: The word "punch" comes from the Hindi word for five, "panch." The five-ingredient drink originated in the East Indies, where it was traditionally made using arrack (a rice or sugarcane spirit), spice, lemon juice, sugar and tea. Imperialist Brits spread the recipe around the world, and North Americans made it their own by replacing arrack with rum. Rum punch was the most popular mixed drink in America from the late 17th Century up until the 1850s. As David Wondrich explains in his book IMBIBE!, punch was always considered a leisurely drink; you and your comrades had to have enough time on your hands to finish the whole bowl. "It's not that Americans suddenly stopped liking punch," he writes. "But [during the Industrial Revolution], they were busy, or at least they thought it a virtue to seem that way." So we relegated the lowly punch to special occasions, where it was socially acceptable to sit idly ladling booze. But with the demise of the American textile factory and the rise of the three-hour-long brunch, punch is making a big, fashionable comeback.
ITS HEALING POWERS: "I've always heard that if you have a hangover, you should drink whatever you drank the night before," Clyde Common bartender Freddy Tincher says. "But typically that can be a little too much. If you had a hard night with tequila and you grab another shot of tequila the next morning, you're asking for a trip to the bathroom." So he recommends something light and alcoholic to make the headache go away. His drink of choice is a sweet, beer-based punch, which he makes every morning at the bar. "Punch is a nice introduction to a day of drinking," he says.
His most popular concoction, the light Peloton Punch, is similar to a Radler, a citrus and beer mixed drink. A competitive cyclist (the man lives in Portland, after all), Tincher named it after the main group of riders in a bicycle race, the peloton. "Most cyclists in general have a hard time with alcohol," he says. "After a four or five hour ride, the body is really depleted." The same is true after a long night of drinking. "It only takes a beer or two to get your buzz on. This punch never breaks 17% [alcohol by volume], so you can drink it without making an ass out of yourself." Unless, of course, you choose to finish the whole bowl yourself.
A CENTURIES-OLD RHYME TO HELP YOU REMEMER HOW TO MAKE PUNCH: "One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak."
THE METHOD: Muddle sugar and lemon peel in a large container. Let sit for one hour or until sugar is dissolved. Add in tea, lemon juice, vermouth and Aperol. Chill. Move to a punch bowl and add IPA. Submerge a bag of ice in the bowl. To serve, ladle into 4-ounce punch glasses. Yield: 28 servings.
Alyson Sheppard is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney's, National Geographic Adventure, the Boston Globe and more. Follow her on Twitter @amshep.
Photo courtesy of Freddy Tincher