By Brenda Lang, as told to Diane Peters

Saskatchewan is home to some of Canada’s most vibrant curling clubs, where both victories and losses are finished off with a stiff homemade brew: Ice Maker’s Punch. Here, Saskatoon curler Brenda Lang shares her version of the boozy concoction enjoyed with chef Lynn Crawford at the Granite Curling Club after a friendly match.

This drink was invented by two ice makers from Rosetown, Sask., both of whom are now retired. Every April, Rosetown hosts an annual men’s bonspiel (a curling tournament) called the Rosebowl, where Ice Maker’s Punch is served at the curling club. Over the years, the tradition has spread all over Saskatchewan; now, they serve it at curling clubs nearly everywhere. Sometimes, it’s called other names, but we know it as Ice Maker’s Punch.

My boyfriend is from Rosetown, and just before Christmas last year, he brought some home in a bucket. It lasts for quite awhile if you keep it cold, so we left it covered in the cold garage and enjoyed it over the Christmas holidays.

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The recipe is really easy to make: booze, coffee, ice cream, cola and ice. Start with a clean pail—one of those big white ones you get at the hardware store that comes with a lid. (I’ve even seen it made in a large garbage pail with a lid.) Often, it’s made with 40-ounce bottles of booze, but we sometimes use 26ers, depending on the quantity we want to make.

I pour in an eight-cup pot of coffee. Some use more and some use less; I’m not a big coffee drinker, so I lean toward less. You always use vanilla ice cream, four litres’ worth, followed by four litres of cola. It doesn’t matter which brand of cola (I use no name).

Dump everything in and let it sit overnight so it can ferment a bit. The ice cream actually bubbles up on the top, but you just mix it all up and leave ’er be. The only thing to remember is to stir it before pouring some into a glass with ice.

It looks a lot like Kahlúa and milk. Some people drink it with ice cream nearby so they can throw in an extra scoop, but that’s usually the ladies. The guys just want the alcohol!

It’s very boozy. I’ve seen it level a 250-pound man after three glasses. You’re not going to be drinking this all night. It’s something you might have a couple of, then switch to beer or something lighter. Some people try to drink it all night long, but they’re usually gone in a couple of hours.

During a bonspiel, you don’t just curl—you partake in all the fun and social activities. Some people have a drink of punch before they go out, and at a big bonspiel like the Rosebowl, people sip punch all day! But really, it’s a postgame activity. Curling is one of the few sports where you sit down and have a drink with your opponent afterward. It’s just not the kind of sport where you want to beat up your opponents after!

Ice Maker’s Punch, courtesy of Brenda Lang

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Yield:  60 servings (1 cup/250 mL each)

Ingredients
40 oz (1.25 L) rye
40 oz (1.25 L) rum
40 oz (1.25 L) vodka
40 oz (1.25 L) Southern Comfort
8 cups (2 L) (approx) brewed coffee
16 cups (4 L) ice cream
16 cups (4 L) cola
1 bag ice

Directions
1. In very large bowl or clean pail with lid, mix together rye, rum, vodka, Southern Comfort, coffee, ice cream, cola and ice. Let ferment overnight.
2. Stir. Serve in glasses with ice. Add scoop of ice cream, if desired.

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