Today's cocktail is a descendent of punch, a noble drink that's enjoying a resurgence in bars all over the world. This one is based on the classic formula of the great recipes of the 17th and 18th centuries, most of which started with sugar soaked in lemon or orange oil. Here clementines are used instead, and all the spirits come from Spain. Spanish brandy is less well-known in the U.S. than cognac, but it is delicious and a great bargain, and the same could be said for cava, Spain's answer to Champagne.
10 large clementines
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups Spanish brandy (Brandy de Jerez)
1 1/2 cups amontillado sherry
1 1/2 cups chilled cava (Spanish sparkling wine)
How to Make It
Peel 2 clementines. Separate into segments. Make a decorative ice block by filling a Bundt pan or quart-sized container half full with distilled water; add segments. Freeze for 4 hours or until solid.
Peel remaining clementines with a serrated vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid white pith. Combine clementine peels and sugar in a large bowl; muddle sugar and peels with a muddler or wooden spoon until the sugar is infused with the oils from the peels. Let stand at room temperature for at least 90 minutes.
Juice clementines to equal 1 cup. Add clementine juice to peels and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Strain through a sieve over a punch bowl; discard peels. Add brandy and sherry to punch bowl; stir well.
Unmold ice block; gently place in punch bowl. Add cava, and stir gently. Grate a small amount of nutmeg over the punch.