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Retro drinks are calling at Pilsen’s Punch House

The dutch call

Makes 14 (5-ounce) servings

Peels of 3 lemons

5 ounces raw sugar

6 ounces lemon juice

3 cups fresh unfiltered Midwest apple cider

1 (750ml) bottle Letherbee gin

1 (750ml) bottle of your favorite sparkling wine

Apple slices, star anise for garnishing

1. Pound the lemon peels with the sugar and allow to macerate for one hour, mixing and muddling every 15 minutes.

2. Squeeze and fine strain enough lemons to yield 6 ounces of juice. (This will be from between 4 and 7 lemons, depending on size.)

3. While waiting for the peels and sugar to meld, bring cider to a simmer; allow to bubble quietly for 20 minutes.

4. Combine hot liquid with peels and sugar; it will melt into a lovely syrup. Remove peels with a slotted spoon. Add gin and lemon juice.

5. Wait to add sparkling wine until just before serving. Garnish with apple slices and star anise.

Note: Be careful with ice or your punch will become too watered. Either keep ice out of the bowl entirely and only in the glasses for service, or pre-freeze one large cube using a round plastic container.

From Punch House

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Updated: April 14, 2014 4:48PM

I inherited Grandmother’s punch bowl. The cousins were happy to relinquish it, based on memories of sticky sweet bowls of melted sherbet and canned pineapple juice at bridal showers and ladies’ luncheons.

It sat — unused — on my shelf for years. Then punch came back on the party scene in a big way.

As the popularity of celebrity mixologists and hand-crafted kitchen-oriented drinks rose, shared bowls of unique (and pungent) beverages became a new trend. And with that trend, it is no longer enough to offer guests an off-hand selection of gin, vodka and scotch along with a bottle of mixer. Outfitting a complete bar for parties at home can become a formidable, not to mention expensive, endeavor.

And the festive punch bowl returns.

At Punch House (1227 W. 18th St.) in Pilsen — decorated to remind you of your parents’ 1950s paneled basement rec room — a selection of punch flavors is carefully handcrafted daily and served from a tap at the decidedly retro bar. Every variation is made from locally procured fruit and liquor and offered in vintage carafes or by the bowl, and served in a selection of cheerful thrift shop glass punch cups.

William Duncan, beverage director/partner, shared Punch House’s recipe for The Dutch Call. He explains the name: “This punch is inspired by the Dutch tradition of the New Years Day ‘call,’ the ritual of passing from home to home on New Year’s Day. The use of traditional fruit and spirit of local origin makes for a perfectly simple, seasonal and delicious punch.”

Make a visit to a vintage shop and liquor store in search of the proper fixings. Then serve this communal drink now and through the holidays.

Local Attractions uses the best of regional produce and products and hopes you will do the same.

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