The 100 Year Punch is a cocktail that features a couple of unique ingredients that highlight the Korean heritage of its creator, Daniel Eun (who also created the #8 cocktail). Baekseju (also spelled Bek Se Ju) or “100 Year Wine,” is a rice and corn based Korean wine flavored with ginseng and other herbs. Apparently it is believed that drinking this wine leads to longevity, hence the name. It clocks in at 13% ABV (alcohol by volume) and tastes like a cross between a sake and a low proof amontillado sherry, so it’s definitely easy on the liver. And it’s pretty damn delicious even on its own -- in fact I’m sipping on some as I’m writing this.
The other unique component in this drink is the rice syrup, which can be found in Korean grocery stores. In the book it mentions Ssal-Yut rice syrup, but Ssal-Yut is just the brand name, so use another brand if your local Korean store doesn’t carry it.
100 Year Punch
1 oz Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Bourbon
1 oz Bek Se Ju “100 Year Wine”
0.25 oz Rice Syrup
2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashion Bitters
Zest of half tangerine peel
Whole nutmeg for grating
Q Tonic bottled tonic water to top
Tools: barspoon, mixing glass, strainer, zester, nutmeg grater
Glassware: chilled, ice-filled rocks glass
Method: Add everything except the nutmeg and tonic water to a mixing glass and stir with ice until chilled. Fine strain (using julep strainer and tea strainer) into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with 1 oz Q Tonic and freshly grated nutmeg.
I was really curious about how this drink would taste because I had never heard of some of these ingredients before. Between the trip to Koreatown to procure the ingredients and zesting the tangerines, it took what seemed a 100 years to make this drink, so the name is an apt one. It’s all worth it in the end because you’re unlikely to try a drink with such a unique flavor profile anywhere.
Despite not having any juice in its ingredient list, it still manages to be a pretty light and refreshing cocktail. The single ounce of Bourbon has something to do with that, but it’s also due to the flavor profile of the Bek Se Ju. There's a lot going on in this drink, and it all comes together: tangerine peel, ginseng, quinine from the tonic water, cinnamon from the bitters, vanilla from the Bourbon, nuttiness from both the wine and the nutmeg. Given the task involved with procuring the ingredients, this is a drink best made in larger batches and best enjoyed in the company of others.
*This post is part of a series in which Payman takes on the task of making and writing about every cocktail featured in the PDT Cocktail Book, as well as providing an awesome photo of each drink taken by Vanessa Bahmani Photography.
**Got a question? He can be found on twitter @paystyle, you can email him at email@example.com, or simply drop him a comment below.