The book admonished the maker to serve the punch while still flaming. So we poured the molten liquid into metal Julep tins (JT called for “glasses,” but we didn’t want to risk a fiery crack-up from the intense heat). To our relief, when separated from the punchbowl, the individual servings quickly lost their flame. But our punch was still burning, and Jerry didn’t leave any instructions for putting it out.
Finally, the safest way we could conceive was to cover the bowl with a flat, metal baking sheet, depriving the fire of oxygen and snuffing it out. It was time to taste.
Though the punch was piping hot, we got a few gulps down. The drink tasted like liquified rock candy mixed with sugar crack, bolstered by a wallop of overproof rum and a long warm finish of caramelized baking spices.
Sure, a quarter pound of raw sugar may seem like overkill for 16 ounces of alcohol and one lemon. But we are not ones for half measures. Still, we could feel our teeth rotting over the course of a single mugful.
Even under the icy permafrost of our office’s overachieving air conditioning system, the drink’s scalding temperature was too much heat. We suggest you reserve this bad mother for the coldest chapters of winter. Unless you need to scare away your neighbors, relatives or in-laws. We’ve done some weird stuff at the Jerry Thomas Experiment, but this was the first time we were genuinely scared we might incinerate our office.