Classic Punch Drinks

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Punch is a drink made in large batches that usually includes alcohol and fruit juice. These days punch usually contains rum but there are many variations of punch drink recipes. References to punch go back to the 1600s in England.

Both legends about the origins of punch involve the British bringing it home from India in the 1500s. Punch is often mentioned in writings from colonial America where the punch bowl was often a focal point of social gatherings.

Planter's Punch

This punch drink is a true classic, said to have originated in Jamaica. Many punch drinks are considered dangerous by imbibers because the fruity flavours and overt sweetness conceal the amount of alcohol being consumed until the heady effects arrive. Planter's punch is a prime example.

"Joy of Cooking" lists this recipe: 2 cups dark Jamaican rum, 2 cups Curacao, 8 cups light rum, 177ml. pineapple juice concentrate, 177ml. orange juice concentrate, 177ml. limeade concentrate, and 295ml. lemonade concentrate. Mix in a large bowl and garnish with fresh fruit. Serve with straws.

Classic Rum Punch

This is a basic rum-based punch drink. If you grew up in the '70s, this is probably what you think of as punch.

The "Drink Recipes" website lists this recipe: 14.2gr. white rum, 14.2gr. dark rum, 14.8ml. Amaretto, 44.4ml. Grenadine Syrup, 59.1ml. orange juice, 59.1ml. pineapple juice, 59.1ml. fresh lemon juice. Mix in a cocktail shaker and serve over crushed ice with decorations.

Notice that this modern version of the punch recipe has been transposed to a single serving, indicating its modernity.

Roman Punch

This is a good example of a classic old-world punch recipe. Up until recently, punch drinks often included a measure of infused tea or plain water.

The Boston Cooking School's "Fannie Farmer 1896 Cookbook" lists this recipe: 4 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup tea infusion, 1/2 cup rum. Mix ingredients and "freeze to a mush."

Fish House Punch

This is an old New England punch drink and the official refreshment of the Schuylkill Fishing Club in Philadelphia, one of America's oldest clubs. There are many varying recipes for this classic. "The Wall Street Journal" offers this version of the recipe: two parts dark Jamaican Rum, one part cognac, one-half part fresh lemon juice, one part simple syrup, two parts water. "Joy of Cooking" says that strong tea can be substituted for water. Stir well and serve with ice.

Classic Christmas Punch

This punch is a holiday tradition that goes back to the wassail tradition in England. Most recipes for this classic holiday punch instruct to serve it hot. "Virtual Cities" offers this version of the recipe: two bottles Cabernet Sauvignon, one 750ml bottle of aged rum, juice of one lemon, 3 cups strong tea and sugar to taste. Heat ingredients in a large saucepan, but don't let it boil. Serve warm.