Cool in Oaxaca Punch
by Gabriel Orta
Chef's Notes: Miami mixologist Gabriel Orta says punch should be fun—and this large-format cocktail with tequila, mezcal, and spicy syrup, is a party in a bowl. The vibrant garnish makes for a dramatic, festive punch that's sure to impress.
Spicy syrup: Hydrate peppers by submerging in a bowl of hot water to soften, 10 minutes. Remove and slice into 1-inch pieces, keeping the seeds intact; discard soaking water. In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil; then stir in peppers, including seeds. Add sugar and stir until dissolved, 2–3 minutes. (Note: Sugar to water ratio for simple syrup is always 1:1.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until syrup has thickened and the peppers have colored the syrup brown, 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and strain liquid from peppers; discard peppers. Let the spicy syrup cool, 1 hour at room temperature or 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Punch: In a punch bowl or large serving bowl, add cucumber juice, lemon or lime juice, spicy syrup, tequila, mezcal, celery bitters, and a pinch of salt. Stir to blend. Taste the punch, and adjust flavor to your preference by adding any of the above ingredients. Add water to dilute to desired strength, and add ice cubes to chill.
Garnish punch with mint bundle, sliced cucumbers, lemon and lime wheels, and flowers. Ladle into serving glasses and serve.
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