For a not-so-obvious Hawaiian punch, we sought help from Allan Katz of Caña in Los Angeles. “After reading about Alexander Payne's eight months living in Hawaii prior to making the movie I thought, Man, I better get the authenticity right with this if I'm going to reference the setting, because clearly this guy's dead serious about setting,” Katz explains. “Then I read up on native Hawaiian fruit. I used to think there wasn't any. Now I know there's hardly any; certainly none anyone in L.A. could get their hands on. So I decided to riff on the bittersweet finish of the film.”
“When Matt King is kissing Elizabeth's comatose body goodbye, you can really see how the bond of a marriage can envelop any foreign entity, even infidelity, and transcend the score-keeping that we so often doom ourselves with. And it literally got me thinking of the tiny black ball made of cracked pepper and spice sitting in a diffuser while the syrup is cooking around it. How in the end, you're left with the hint of those spices, but all that remains is the honey; the rest is discarded, much in the same way Matt King finds peace with the circumstances surrounding his wife's unfortunate accident. And hey, it's got a mango in it too, so cue the ukelele.”
Exiled In Paradise
Created by Allan Katz of Caña
8 oz. bourbon (Katz uses a spicy one like Four Roses)
8 oz. cognac (Katz uses the 90 proof Pierre Ferrand 1840)
8 oz. reposado tequila (Katz uses Gran Centenario or Carmessi and warns the tequila should be mellow, not “agave-forward”)
12 oz. fresh lemon juice
8 oz. spiced clover honey syrup*
8 dashes Bittermens' Elemakule Tiki Bitters
8 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 moderately ripe mango
Lemon wheels and mango slices (for garnish)
Infuse all spirits at least one day with a moderately ripe mango. The mango should have some green, orange, and red to it, and the flesh should still be semi-firm. This will yield a uniquely flavorful base for the punch.
Blend all ingredients with 20 ounces of crushed ice. If you have an immersion or "stick" blender, you can easily do this in a pitcher or almost any mixing vessel you choose. Blend until ice is dissolved.
Pour into punch bowl or luau-ready vessel with a block of ice in it. (A note from Katz: Freeze distilled water in Tupperware to make an easy block of ice at home.) Garnish with thin lemon wheels and mango slices or inverted lime shells filled with ignited 151 proof rum
*To make the spiced clover honey syrup: Combine 8 ounces of filtered water, 1 1/2 ounces of crushed black peppercorns, 1/2 ounce of powdered cumin. Simmer until reduced by fifty percent. Super-fine strain (a re-useable coffee filter is a great household item for this). Mix the resulting 4 ounces of "pepper tea" w/ 8 ounces of pure clover honey. Stir until well integrated.