Nick Mautone, the general manager and a partner of the famous New York City restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, demonstrated how to make four delicious summer punches.
Mautone has spent most of his professional life in the hospitality and food service industries. His first job was for his grandfather's company -- Brunetto Cheese -- located in Yonkers, N.Y. During high school and college, Mautone worked in local restaurants and catering businesses to pay for his tuition. He earned a BS in Business Administration from Fordham University. He began his education as a pre-med major, but changed his focus after giving in to his passion for food and wine.
In 1982, along with his three brothers and three sisters, he opened American Pie. It was an Upper West Side favorite for about nine years. It specialized in serving innovative deep-dish style pizzas with both traditional and non-traditional fillings and also served homey dessert pies and cheesecakes in a casual atmosphere.
He then went to Gotham Bar and Grill to join their management team. For three years he handled many aspects of staff training and education. In 1993, he was recruited to head the Hudson River Club. He left there for Gramercy Tavern in 1996.
He has a 7-year-old-daughter, Alexandra, who he spends much of his free time with. He also devotes a great amount of time to local charities.
Watermelon Punch Nonalcoholic
1/2 small watermelon
1 1/2 cups confectioners or superfine sugar
The juice of 12 lemons
1 large bunch of fresh mint + extra for garnishing the glass
2 quarts white grape juice
1tbs vanilla extract
Optional: 2 tbs. Chipotle Pepper Powder or Smoked Paprika + 1tbs. salt and 1 tbs. sugar for rimming the glass
Cut the watermelon into 1/2-inch cubes. Place 3/4 of the melon in a punch bowl. Add the sugar and mint. Stir the cubes to extract as much of the juice as possible. Place reserved watermelon cubes in a freezer bag and freeze until ready to use. Squeeze the lemons and mix the juice with extracted watermelon and juice. Add the white grape juice and vanilla and stir. Let chill in refrigerator until ready to use
Place some of the reserved, frozen watermelon in punch cups. Top with punch and garnish with mint.
Mix the Chipotle Powder or Smoked Paprika with the sugar and salt. Rub the outside rim of the punch cups with lemon and dredge in the spice mixture. Add some of the frozen watermelon and fill with punch.
6 pieces of whole star anise
6 pods of cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean split
1 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 bottles of white wine
4 peaches peeled and cut into eighths
The juice of 1 large orange
The juice of 2 lemons
The juice of 2 limes
2 cups of peach brandy
2 cups peach nectar
Mint leaves for garnish
Place the star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla bean in the boiling water in a punch bowl. This will quickly extract the flavors from the spices. Add the sugar and peaches and stir until sugar is fully dissolved. You can let this steep for up to one hour in the refrigerator to get as much peach flavor as possible. Top with the wine, brandy and nectar, stir until well blended.
Ladle into punch cups or wine glasses. Ensure that the cup gets a peach slice and top with a sprig of mint.
Use a white wine with good fruit and acidity. Riesling works well. You can also use a rose with great results.
You can substitute any nectar such as a pear or apricot for the peach nectar. Or match apricots with apricot nectar, pears with pear nectar, pineapple and pineapple juice etc.
Makes 15 8 oz. Servings
1/2 cup superfine sugar
4 plums cut in thick wedges
2 bottles sparkling wine chilled
2 cups plum wine
1 cup brandy
2 pints apricot nectar (or peach or pear, etc.)
Mint leaves for garnish
Place plums and sugar in punch bowl and stir well to extract juice. Add plum wine, brandy and nectar stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve remove mixture from refrigerator and add sparkling wine. Float mint leaves on top. Serve immediately.
Makes 15 8-oz servings
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 lb cherries halved and pitted
1 quart dark rum
1 cup amaretto
1 cup Cointreau
1 quart orange juice
1 quart pineapple juice
¼ cup lemon juice (roughly juice from 3 lemons)
¼ cup lime juice (roughly juice from 3 limes)
2 limes sliced
2 lemons sliced
mint leaves for garnish
Option 1: 1 pint of coconut sorbet very well frozen
Option 2: 1 quart club soda
In punch bowl, place pitted cherries and sugar stir well to extract juice. Add rum, amaretto, Cointreau, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon and lime juice and stir well. Allow to chill very well in refrigerator. (Tip: In a pinch, refrigerate liquors the night before.) When ready to serve, float lemon slices, lime slices and mint leaves on top. Ladle into punch cups and serve.
When ready to serve, place entire pint of coconut sorbet inverted into punch bowl. As the sorbet melt,s it adds a nice tropical flavor to the punch and looks very festive.
When ready to serve add club soda on top to give the punch a little fizz.
Cointreau: The world's most distinguished orange-flavored liqueur made by France's Cointreau family since the mid-nineteenth century. It is clear and colorless with an intensely exotic, mildly bitter orange flavor -- the result of a combination of the peel of sour oranges and sweet orange peel.
Sangria: It is made usually with red wine, fruit juices, soda water, fruit, and sometimes liqueurs and brandy or even cognac. Sangria blanco is made with white wine. Both are served cold over ice and make a refreshing cooler on a hot summer day.