Ever heard of Kronan the warrior? Right, right that’s because he’s more of the fancy type, more apt to be found around the punch bowl with a flock of ladies in tow. Swedish punsch, recently revived by the brand Kronan, is an old-timey sailor sipper and ingredient in many pre-prohibition cocktails. In fact, if Kronan Swedish Punsch really wants to target Americans, they would aim at southern Americans in particular with a simple campaign like, “sweet tea with a punsch.” Served on the rocks with an orange twist and boom, it’s Steel Magnolias “child, please pass the Splenda mama can’t get out the rocker."
Swedish punsch is actually a combination of Batavia arrack (the liquor), sugar, tea with a hint of spice, and citrus. In 1733, sailors of the Swedish East India Company used to mix a little bit of this with a little bit of that to make a warm drink for the ride home. Trading in Jakarta aka Batavia they picked up the local liquor made from sugar cane and red rice, known as arrack, not to be confused with the anise-flavored arak. In a big bowl they would pour hot tea over a hunk of sugar, add the arrack and season with citrus and spices.
Technically the English had been doing this years before but pshhhh, that’s around the time they were having trouble playing well with others because all they wanted to do was conquer stuff. Punsch, which can be enjoyed both hot and cold, became so popular it was recognized as Sweden’s national drink and as the trend swept Europe in the 1800s, anyone who’s anyone could be found socializing around the punsch bowl. Some even consider this to be the first ever cocktail.
While typically made in the moment, thanks to a partnership between Eric Seed of distributing company Haus Alpenz and master blender Henrik Facile, Kronan Swedish Punsch is the complete package. But seriously, if you decide to serve this at a baby shower, or a Junior League party, sit back and watch this beverage take over the world, and by the world, I mean the South.
Kronan Swedish Punsch can be found at Spec's and Total Wine for about $30 a bottle.