The new book is about the history of punch. “And by ‘Punch,’ I don’t mean the trashy toga-party fuel or the frilly, fussy stuff you find in entertaining guides,” Wondrich says. He’s talking about the 18th and 19th century variety, the one that was “Simply a healthy dose of cognac, Jamaican rum or some other rich, full-flavored booze, brightened up with a little lemon or lime juice, mellowed with sugar, softened with water until at wine strength and given a little edge of spice to make it interesting.”
He includes this recipe for “Just Plain Punch”:
3/4 cup fine-grained raw sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups VSOP cognac (Martell or Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
1 cup Jamaican-style rum (Smith & Cross, Plantation Jamaica or Myers’s)
1 quart water, frozen overnight in a large bowl
1 quart cold water
grated nutmeg (garnish)
Read the article for complete directions.
The idea behind punch, Wondrich told me when I met him at the Ultimate Cocktail and Spirits Blast, is for a lower-alcohol beverage to drink casually over the course of an evening party.
The book, Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, is in stores next week.