Detroit has David Kwiatkowski to thank for jump-starting the city's local cocktail culture, via his far-reaching bar, the Sugar House. And we have Kwiatkowski himself to thank for introducing us to our favorite fruit-booze pairing of the year: Fernet and blackberries. He suggests making this punch a day in advance to let the flavors truly marry; he also admits he rarely has the patience to wait that long.
1 pound blackberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
˝ cup water
12 ounces Cruzan Black Strap rum
12 ounces Fernet-Branca
9 ounces fresh lime juice
24 ounces San Pellegrino chinotto
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Pineapple rings, for garnish
1. Make the blackberry syrup: In a medium saucepan, add the blackberries and sugar. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, muddle the berries into the sugar until the berries' juices have been extracted. Let the mixture sit for 1 hour to macerate.
2. Add the water to the pan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Strain the syrup into a lidded container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. Make the cocktail: In a punch bowl, combine the rum, Fernet-Branca, lime juice, 6 ounces of the blackberry syrup and chinotto. Stir to combine. Add large ice cubes, mint sprigs and pineapple rings. To serve, ladle 4 ounces of punch into a glass. Garnish with fresh mint.