Spirited Traveler: How about a nice, sweet Swedish Punsch?

Tue May 22, 2012 6:37am EDT
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(Kara Newman is the author of "The Secret Financial Life of Food", Columbia University Press; publication date autumn 2012. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

By Kara Newman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stockholm is an international city - the array of bars and restaurants in Sweden's capital are testament to that, referencing Cuban daiquiris, Japanese sake cocktails and everything in between.

Yet only a handful feature the fine local liqueur known as Swedish Punsch, a sweetened and spiced rum-like spirit made with Batavia Arrack.

"It's an acquired taste," comments Magnus Sundström, a Stockholm-based creative professional and cocktail enthusiast.

"I think that many Swedish people find it too sweet." The traditional way to consume Swedish Punsch is alongside yellow pea soup, on Thursdays.

If Swedes are drinking less of their namesake punch, at least it's getting a boost elsewhere thanks to the revival of pre-Prohibition cocktail recipes that call for the ingredient. In the last year, American tipplers regained access to Swedish Punsch under the Kronan label, thanks to quirky importer Haus Alpenz. (Ironically, the brand is made but not sold in Sweden.)

Within Stockholm, Swedish Punsch can be spotted here and there, such as in the tiki-style Caribbean Tango cocktail at Story Hotel (www.storyhotels.com/) (recipe below).

But there's also a whole tirade of tippling to be had in Stockholm beyond Punsch.   Continued...