Garrick Club Punch Recipe
As we mentioned in our special week on the topic not so long ago, we’re late but enthusiastic converts to punch. We long stood firmly on the cocktail side of the argument; then we met a true, honest-to-goodness punch from its 18th century heyday, and we were immediately smitten. Punch is the cocktail’s older, English cousin. It was born of something like necessity. When English sailors ran out of wine on their ships, they did their best to replicate it using the materials they had at hand: whatever spirit they could find, sugar, citrus, spice, and water. As cocktail historian David Wondrich says, ‘Punch is wine by other means.’
Punch is lower in alcohol (somewhere in the range of a glass of wine to a glass of sherry) than cocktails, very smooth in flavor, and designed to be made in batches and served communally. It’s a very sociable form of drink. Thus, while we continue to favor cocktails when we’re at a restaurant or serving drinks to a couple of people at home, punch has quickly become our preferred option when we’re serving to a group. We had the perfect occasion for a bowl of punch over Easter dinner.
For the punch of the day, we chose the Garrick Club’s gin punch. The Garrick Club is a prestigious London private club, started in the early 19th century as a place where society’s elite could safely mingle with artsy types like actors and novelists. It boasts Dickens, H.G. Wells, A.A. Milne–as well as many important members of parliament and generals and such whose names we don’t recognize–as members. Their gin punch was a hit among 19th century English literati, and at our Easter dinner on Capitol Hill last week.
For the first time in our (admittedly limited) experience, the Garrick Club employees a liqueur in their punch, basically serving in the place of the spice. The use of maraschino liqueur gives it a very inviting aromatic, almost perfume-like quality. Like perfume, it’s important to keep it subtle; just a little bit more than enough would be way too much.
Garrick Club Punch Recipe
from London Quarterly in 1835, by way of Wondrich’s Punch
- 10 oz Old Tom gin or genever
- 2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
- the yellow part of the peel of 1 lemon–keep as much of the white pith out as possible
- 3 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz superfine sugar
- 4 cups club soda
- Muddle the lemon peel and sugar in the bottom of a punch bowl or big pitcher
- Add the maraschino liqueur and the lemon juice and muddle a bit more.
- Add gin and stir gently to mix.
- Add a bunch of ice, in one big block if possible.
- Add seltzer.
- Serve in small cups.