Review: Tegnér & Son Swedish Punsch
Punsch became wildly popular in Sweden during the 1800s, and was mostly consumed warm as an avec, but the last couple of decades it has become a novelty, kept alive only by student and military traditions, and something to drink with the classic Swedish pea soup on Thursdays.
However, with the resurgence of classic cocktails people found Swedish punsch to be an intriguing ingredient crucial for a number of pre-prohibition cocktail recipes, and American cocktail enthusiasts did their best to get hold of this hard-to-get product from a friend or relative in Sweden, or simply made it themselves with the help of some old recipe. Nowadays people in the US can easily get hold of Kronan Swedish Punsch - made in Sweden primarily for the US market - thanks to Henrik Facile, a Swedish punsch pioneer currently residing in Austin, TX, and Haus Alpenz - and two years ago I noticed that it appeared on many cocktail menus in New York.
Unfortunately punsch is still something of an obscurity in Swedish cocktail bars. Sure, bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts are using it more and more, and there are a number of brands on the market, but most of them are only available on special order - which leads me to Tegnér & Son Punsch which was launched in Sweden in December last year and should be available in most well sorted Systembolaget shops around the country.
Tegnér & Son is a family business founded by Elias Tegnér and associates in 1880, and in the heyday of punsch they had around ten different punsch brands on the market. One of those recipes has now been updated to attract the modern consumer by removing about a third of the original sugar content and adding a splash of aged Caribbean rum - but still using the same supplier of arrack as a hundred years ago.
Nose: Bold and sweet, lots of arrack and bitter orange, molasses and hints of vanilla, tobacco and toffee and maybe also licquorice. Mouth: Sweet and smooth dominated by arrack, burnt sugar, bitterness from bergamot and orange peel and a light smokiness, with a nice, spicy kick of cinnamon as it fades.
It's a nice and well balanced product, still on the sweet side of course but hey, it's a liqueur! Tegner & Son's offering on the market is a delicious punsch for the common Swede - at least compared to the more full-bodied, earlier mentioned Kronan which might be too heavy for some - and I'm pretty sure that Elias Tegnér would be proud of his descendants and their continuation of his legacy.
|Mai Tai Punsch|