The storehouses of the Romanov Court in St. Petersburg were regarded as the largest collections of cognacs and wines in the world; much of it from the Transcaucasus region of Georgia (then part of the Russian Empire).
During the October Revolution of 1917, upon the storming of the Winter Palace, the Bolshevik Revolution actually paused for a week or so as the rioters engorged on the substantial stores of cognac and wines.
Servings: Makes 18 to 20 serving
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 4-inch-long strip orange peel
- 2 750-ml bottles dry red wine
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups brandy
- 1 whole nutmeg
- Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in large pot, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Add wine; stir to heat through.
- Pour mixture into large heatproof glass, ceramic, or metal punch bowl.
- Mix in orange juice and lemon juice. Holding ladle over punch bowl, fill ladle with brandy; carefully ignite. Pour into punch bowl and allow flame to burn out.
- Mix in remaining brandy.
- Grate some nutmeg over punch.