It’s only natural to follow up a post on barriers to entry on theater with alcohol, right? I mean a post about alcohol, not a drinking session, or not just a drinking session. I’m sure these is some kind of profound meaning to be plumbed from the connection between my cocktail hobby and my profession, but that’s not what we are here for. We are here for Super Punch Jannamico.
One of the many fascinating things about alcohol in the United States is that basically know one knows what spirits are worth. Oh, sure there are the commodities: you should never pay more than $12 for a fifth of Bacardi, Evan Williams will set you back $14 just about anywhere. Despite those prices, these aren’t bottom shelf, they are just mass produced known quantities that the distillers want to push in volume. Once you move up a price point though, it’s the wild West, except for really well known brands. Campari costs $29.99 just about anywhere. But is Maestro Dobel Diamante worth $25? Or is it worth $40? I wait until it goes on sale for $22 at my local (and I will not disclose that location, natch). So it’s important to frequent a wide variety of different liquor stores to find prices that are as palatable as the liquids you are purchasing (except for Malört, don’t touch that stuff).
Some of the more fascinating price/performance ratios are found in state run liquor stores. Now most state stores are mostly terrible (I’m talking about you Virginia), but Pennsylvania’s is relatively well-curated and, for whatever reason has really good prices on one of my favorite categories of alcohol: amaro (thanks to this guy — if you find yourself in the East Village, go to Amor Y Amargo. You’re welcome).
So when I found myself back up in the 717 to catch up with a friend, I dropped by the Shrewsbury state store and discovered Super Punch Jannamico, which I mean look at it?
What is this thing?! I thought it was Jamaican from the color scheme, but it’s actually Italian. I had to do a little sleuthing before I dropped some cash on it.
Turns out it’s imported by a small place in Pittsburgh. Most alcohol is imported from big time ports, like New York City (or rather, the cheaper places to build warehouses around it, like White Plains). Why Pittsburgh, where I went to school, and why didn’t I know about these D’Andrea people before?! Turns out, Super Punch is old hat for Italians in the ‘Burgh. I definitely had to buy it.
And you know what? It’s freaking delicious. The bartender, Abaraham Hawkins, mentioned a combination of pineapple juice and soda, both of which I had lying around, and it was indeed awesome. The liquid is like a light syrup, not as thick as your créme de mure and what have you and it is an ugly black color. If you want to have fun with some witch’s brew type stuff for Halloween, you could do a lot worse than Jannamico. I’ve dabbled with it in some cocktails, but it’s potent stuff and at 88 proof a bit higher alcohol content than your average rum or bourbon. It’s also thick and sweet enough that it’s a nice introduction to amaro, since it’s nowhere near as bitter as Campari, let alone something like Suze (watch out for those Gentian based bitters, man). I haven’t tried the ice cream trick from the bottle, so your mileage may vary on that one.
So, yeah, take a chance on that weird bottle in the corner gathering dust at the liquor stuff. It might just change your life. Ok, Super Punch Jannamico didn’t change my life, but it certainly made my day.