Christmas Punch

Some point to the ancient Hindustani word “paanstch”, which means five: a drink prepared from five key elements – sweet, sour, alcohol (arrack), water, and spices. Some, however, attribute it to English merchant sailors who, though they did not invent the punch, drank it in significant quantities.

Men working on British East India Company ships used it as a beer alternative in the 17th century. The sailors were known to consume large quantities of beer on their voyages, but when the ships reached the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, the beer in the cargo bays became rancid and stale. Once the ships reached the coast, the sailors created new drinks from ingredients native to their destination: Arrack, citrus fruits, and spices. Back at sea or at home, rum or brandy or other wines were more likely to be used.

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Naval Officers and a Bowl of Punch by Thomas Rowlandson c.1790 

The sailors brought punch back with them to Britain. With its exotic flavors and expensive ingredients, it became a fixture in the elite homes of 17th-century England and then a staple. Punch parties were known to get out of hand. Like the celebration of Edward Russel, captain-general and commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. On 25 October 1694, he had a garden party for 6000 guests at his villa, and had his marble fountain filled with punch. For this, 4 hogsheads (c. 960L) of brandy, 8 hogsheads of water, 25000 lemons 75L of lime juice. 560kg of sugar, 3kg of nutmeg, 300 toasted biscuits, and a pipe of dry mountain Malaga. The punch was served by a ship’s boy who rowed through the fountain in a small boat.

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Sailors sharing both punch and wenches. Taken from “Grog on Board” by Thomas Rowlandson, 1789 

Punch entered the middle class as the ingredients became more affordable during the 18th century. Punch was ubiquitous in the British Atlantic world and spread to the American colonies. That being the case, why is it considered more of a Christmas drink? It was because many of the merchants stayed at home during the winter months and made punch for the family on Christmas Day with the spices they had bought for themselves locally. This made it something special and is therefore often associated with the Christmas season, even though it was served all year round, especially when the spices became affordable for many.

If you want to make now your own punch here is a British Navy recipe.

Bombay Presidency Punch in Bombay Government, August 13, 1694

Servings: 2 Prep Time: 5 minutes

2 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp  lime or lemon juice 1/2 cup rum 3/4 cups water nutmeg

-In a non-reactive bowl or pitcher, mix together the sugar and the juice and stir until dissolved.  (Please use a glass, pottery, or stainless steel bowl or pitcher. Copper, cast iron, and aluminum will react with the acid in the lemon juice.)

-Remove any seeds that may have made their way into the bowl.  Blend in the rum, and then the water.

-Add ice.  Then grate nutmeg over the top.

-Enjoy your tipple!

 

Bullet Points:

* NY Post – CNN boss Chris Licht slammed liberals for criticizing his move to make CNN less partisan, saying it only makes him more confident about his decisions. “The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning, which proves my point: So much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths, and desperation.”

* Pedo Joe’s border crisis is fueling growing cartel armies – now armed to the teeth and rivaling Mexico’s military. Why isn’t this threat to American interests being discussed?  One ICE estimate found that prior to 2018 human smuggling generated somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million a year. That revenue may have gone as high as $13 billion in 2021 alone. A lower ICE estimate pinned the revenues between $2 billion to $6 billion per year. Maybe they should ask how much of it is kicked back to the democrat party? 10% to the Big Guy? Is the FBI acting as the cartel’s bagman? I don’t know. Just speculating, following the money.

* American Thinker – Last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showed up in Congress to demand money. As one, the entire body of American politicians swooned before the man. One person who did not swoon was Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson, who pointed out some uncomfortable truths and asked the all-important question about our politicians joyously pushing us towards a hot war with a nuclear Russia. Who benefits? …more here.

* ABC presenter Eleni Roussos has decided to speak out about her personal suffering from a Covid-19 jab after former AMA president Dr Kerryn Phelps also went public this week. Roussos wrote on Twitter, “Inspired by @drkerrynphelps today I want to say I too have been in a living hell with pericarditis because of the Covid vaccine. Vaccine injuries are real and serious and I sincerely hope more people will speak up.”

* 48 of 113 ballots reviewed during the Kari Lake Challenge were 19-inch ballots on 20-inch paper — THAT JAMMED THE MACHINES ON ELECTION DAY…The ballots were all printed at Runbeck Company, a printing corporation run by a very liberal Arizona family that strictly donates to Democrat candidates and causes. The flawed ballots were handed out on Election Day when officials KNEW Republicans would come out in force. 72% of voters on Election Day were voting Republican. Only 17% of the voters that day were voting democrat.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I was never much of a drinker.
    We got into town, I think in Madrid, coulda been Rota, and we arrived after hours, IIRC.
    So we checked in and went to the bar.
    The other guys on the team started drinking. I typically did not drink, but they had this lovely punch on the bar, with fruit floating in it.
    I don’t remember much after that.
    I met with a teammate years later and he reminded me of the incident and filled in the details.
    I must have missed a good time.

  2. Punch
    Pioneer Kaserne EM Club, circa 1960’s, a popular drink was Singapore Slings. Reading the ingredients from online sources, it appears to be similar to punch. Six in a setting made the three block stagger to the barracks a challenge. If memory serves, they were 50 cents.

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