Posted By Sarah on September 3, 2011
My friend Tom was coordinating the drinks for a history conference we were both attending this past week, and I was delighted to discover our mutual interest in historical foodways. Specifically, in historical drinks. Tom made up several different punches from 18th and 19th century recipes and served them at social hour.
He brought with him his copy of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, by David Wondrich. This book has been added to my must-have list.
Punch à la Regent, by P. Watier, Royal Lodge, 1820: original. (page 235)
Take 4 oz. of clarified sugar, thin peel of 1 lemon and 1 Seville orange, 1 bottle of dry Champagne, ½ bottle of white brandy, ½ gill of rum, ½ arrack, ½ gill of pineapple syrup, 1 wine-glass of Maraschino; pour 1 quart of boiling water over 2 teaspoonsful of green tea; let it stand five minutes; strain, and mix with other ingredients; pass through a sieve; let it remain in ice 30 minutes.
Original source: William J. Terrington, Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, 1869.
The Regent’s, or George the Fourth’s, Punch. (pages 235-236)
Pare as thin as possible the rinds of two China oranges, of two lemons, and of one Seville orange, and infuse them for an hour in half a pint of thin cold syrup; then add to them the juice of the fruit. Make a pint of strong green tea, sweeten it well with fine sugar, and when it is quite cold, add to it the fruit and syrup, with a glass of the best old Jamaica rum, a glass of brandy, one of arrack, one of pineapple syrup, and two bottles of Champagne; pass the whole through a fine lawn sieve until it is perfectly clear, then bottle and put it into ice until dinner is served. We are indebted for this receipt to a person who made the punch daily for the prince’s table, at Carlton palace, for six months; it has been in our possession some years, and may be relied on.
Source: Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery for Private Families, 1845.
Cozzens’s Arrack Punch (pages 122-123)
To one bottle of old Batavia arrack, add six lemons, in thin slices, and let them steep for six hours. Take them out very carefully, without squeezing. To one quart of boiling water add one pound of loaf sugar. When the sugar is dissolved, add the hot solution to the arrack. Be sure to remove the lemons first.
Original source: F. S. Cozzens, Wine Press, June 1854.
[Notes from author David Wondrich: "This recipe is meant for bottling. If you’re going to lay it down for keeping, it will need filtering after a few days. If arrack is lacking, it may be replaced here with cognac… Either way, this formula is simply too sweet to be drunk as punch without dilution. A little boiling water, though (say, equal parts), and it’s a most festive holiday drink – and what’s better, one that can be prepared days, weeks, or even months in advance."]
He also served Star punch, a drink he created in the 1980s for another conference out here on Star Island. It too was tasty, though I’m not a fan of star fruit all that much. I’m quite fond of both the Regent’s punch and the arrack punch, though, and I suspect both will be added to our stock of potential refreshments at 18th and early 19th century events. Thanks, Tom!