Besides having the world’s largest ice cream factory (which I am a huge fan of), the city of Bakersfield, California has made popular one of the forgotten cocktails, The Picon Punch. Picon Punch is the national drink of the Basque people, and there are enough of them in Bakersfield to make this drink the most popular cocktail in the city.
So what is Picon Punch? Well, it is based on the bitter orange spirit Amer Picon, which is pretty much impossible to obtain today apart from a quick flight to France. Currently owned by spirits giant Diageo, Amer Picon is not distributed in the US for some reason, and not only that, in the 70’s its proof was lowered from 78 to 39, resulting in a change in flavor. However fear not, as you currently have two options if you live here in North America.
First option: Make your own. It can be done, and apparently tastes almost exactly like the original Picon. Jamie Boudreau created this version called Amer Boudreau, and you can find all his info here.
Your next option is brought to you by the Torani syrup company. Yes, the same ones that make overly sweet and sugary additions for your morning latte. Ths version of Amer Picon, called Torani Amer, has a similar flavor and the same proof as the original Amer Picon. Still relatively hard to find (I got mine from Bevmo in California. It can also be found here and here.) this makes an excellent substitution for real Amer Picon.
Now on to the drink. The Picon Punch is an excellent apertif cocktail that will really open up your palate into trying and enjoying some of the more bitter cocktails.
1 tsp Grenadine
2 1/2 oz Amer Picon
1 oz Brandy