Try as I might, I have never been prepared for a mixology monday. I always know about it for weeks and then forget, clamoring at the last minute to put something up. This month is similar in that I am sitting here, at 9pm mixing up my beverage. However, I have known for a while what I wanted to put up. This month’s MxMo is hosted by Mike at Hobson’s Choice, and his theme is Punch. As I am working through Vintage Spirits, I noticed that there were several punches listed, and since I am making each and every drink in the book, I thought it was only fitting that this entry combine the two. First off, lets look at what punch is.
Punch is a loanword from Hindi panch and the drink was made from five different ingredients: spirit, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices. Sounds very similar to the definition of a cocktail. The drink was brought back from India to England by the sailors and employees of the British East India Company in the early seventeenth century, and from there it was introduced into other European countries. The term punch was first recorded in British documents dating back to 1632. At that time, most punches were of the Wassail type, or with a wine or brandy base, but by around 1655, when Jamaica came out with rum, the ‘modern’ punch was born and by 1671, there were references to punch houses.
Perhaps one of the most famous punches, supposedly partaken by many of the founding fathers of our nation, was created at the Schuylkill Fishing Company also known as the “Fish House”. Out of that famed gentlemen’s club comes the Fish House Punch. The Fish House Punch recipe has had many variations over the years, but I will go with the one listed in Vintage Spirits. A similar recipe can be found in Jerry Thomas’s Bon Vivant’s Companion.
Fish House Punch
2 Quarts Jamaican Rum (Appleton 12yr)
1 Quart Brandy (Hennessy VS)
1/2 Pint Peach Brandy
1/2 Pint Maraschino Liqueur
1 Quart Green Tea
1 Pint Lemon Juice
1 Lb Powdered Sugar
1 Bottle Champagne
Serve over ice.
Maybe not obvious, but I did not mix the large recipe up for this post, but instead mixed up a batch for about 5 drinks.
The punch is very forward on the rum, but pairs excellently with the brandy. The fruit flavors linger in the background, with the maraschino adding the small amount of bitterness to keep the drink in balance. All in all, a great concoction which is historically accurate to the origins of punch, and which may see an appearance at my next party.
You can find the round up for this month’s MxMo here