The Admiral Schley Punch

September 25, 2012

As you know, I love to mess around with all sorts of ingredients in coming up with new cocktails. But, sometimes, finding a classic recipe that hits the spot is even more exciting. And when that classic recipe is named after a 19th Century Naval Officer involved in a controversial battle near the end of the Spanish War, it’s easy to get all jazzed up and slug a few of these while imagining life on board the USS Brooklyn, the flagship of Winfield Scott Schley’s Flying Squadron.

The Flying Squadron and the USS Brooklyn in particular were key players in the defeat of the Spanish Navy in the summer of 1898. But the historical records of Schley’s role aren’t as clear cut. His rival and senior in rank, William Sampson, felt Schley’s actions were rogue and disobedient. When a historical account of the US Navy was published with Sampson’s input and approval claiming Schley to be “caitiff, poltroon, and coward”, shit got real. Schley was never able to fully reverse the claims but since has remained a strongly considered war hero and is buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery. So take that Sampson…

But maybe his most important contribution to modern day society is this cocktail (okay, that’s probably not reasonable). It isn’t entirely clear (besides the Caribbean and American liquor combination) why this drink was garnered as his namesake, but the little I’ve read about Schley makes me think he enjoyed his booze. So much so that he couldn’t choose between bourbon and rum and realized how delicious they were together. When I first saw this recipe I wasn’t so sure how this combination would be. But it turns out the two liquors play off each other extremely well. The age of the bourbon with the molasses like sweetness of the rum matches with the lime juice to make a seriously strong and flavorful punch.

And the real proof of cocktail greatness: I had two of these and felt like I could command a warship…

The Admiral Schley Punch

 1 ½ oz Bourbon

1 ½ oz Dark Rum

1 ½ oz Lime Juice

1 tbsp honey

Mix all of the ingredients vigorously in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. For the best results, stir the honey and the lime together in advance so the honey does not clump. Pour into a glass with the ice and garnish with a lime. The original recipe called for mint and a pineapple wedge as garnish which sound delicious but I didn’t have. Feel free to mess around with these and other garnishes.


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