Alcoholic Punch Recipes
Punch is a widely layered term referring to an extensive assortment of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, with the common denominator being fruit or fruit juice, which nearly all punch drinks contain to a certain level. Punch was originally imported from India to England in the 17th century and then to the rest of Europe, spreading through the West as its popularity grew. One common method of serving punch is in so-called punch bowls, large containers meant for many consumers, from which the drink is served in ladles into the cups.
Etymologically, the origin of the word punch appears to be disputed. Being brought from India, its origin is certainly to be found in that area, but where exactly remains a mystery. Punch has a history of four centuries in the West. The original drink was named paantsch, possibly derived from a Persian word panj, meaning five. Another source for the naming could be Sanskrit panchan, standing for the same meaning. Five stands here for the five ingredients from which the original drink was made, namely alcohol, water and sugar, as well as lemon and tea or spices, which give the punch its unique taste. This original Indian preparation method was brought home to England by sailors employed by the British East India Company, India being then still a British colony. From Britain, the drink spread to continental Europe.
Some references indicate that the five different ingredients giving the drink its name actually represent five different traits that are particular to a punch: sweet (sugar), sour (lemon), bitter (tea or spices), weak (water) as finally alcoholic.
We have some other, contradicting accounts that claim the word is actually short for puncheon, which is a large cask of varying capacity, usually 80 gallons. These accounts maintain that the drink was not actually invented in or brought from India, but is the result of British sailors experimenting on the long seaways. Whichever account is true, remains a mystery – quite possibly the drink resulted as combination of both.
We first find mention of the word punch in British documents around 1632. The particular popular punch type of the time seems to be the Wassail type, a punch made of sweetened ale or wine heated with spices and roasted apples, which may be a result of an even earlier Christmas British tradition. Twenty years later though, around 1650, we see the trend shift into using Jamaican rum, and the ‘modern’ punch is created. Around the beginning of the 18th century, we find first references to the existence of punch houses.
Today, most beverages sold as punch do not contain a particularly high amount of fruit. Instead, sugar or corn syrup, sometimes even citric acid and artificial flavors are popular in use.
Punch is a drink popular in many different regions of the world that did not have it originally and had it imported in some time of their history. However, every region seems to add its different, unique touch to the mix to create a different kind of drink altogether.
In Korea, we find the drink sujeonggwa, a fruit punch made of dried persimmons, cinnamon and ginger, peppercorn, often garnished with pine nuts, served cold as a dessert. The drink is dark-red in color and does not contain alcohol in its natural form, although you can add alcohol to it.
Mexiko sports a very sweet form of punch called agua loca, roughly translating to “crazy water”. It is made from fermented sugarcane, mezcal or tequila mixed with “aguas frescas” (“water refreshments”, non-alcoholic flavored coolers). The person drinking this punch may be fooled by its very sweet and not realize they’re drinking alcohol, which may result in them becoming intoxicated much more quickly than expected. Accordingly, this drink is popular in college parties as a fast, inexpensive way of becoming drunk.
In Germany, where punch is called Punsch (pronounced like ‘push’ with n), it is most commonly a mix of some fruit and spices, added to wine. Traditionally in some regions, a Christmas evening may include a sip of Feuerzangenbowle, literally “A bowl of fire/burning tongue”. This sort of punch is made from wine and flaming rum. One particular trait of it is not being served in a large bowl, but in a smaller container over which a round lump of sugar (called Zuckerhut, “sugar hat”) is placed on a metal grate.
Punch recipes: the absolute highlightsSouthern (Sweet) Bourbon Punch
One of the most common, and continually top rated sorts of punch is the sweet bourbon punch or southern bourbon punch. Closely associated with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as it is based on Kentucky Bourbon, this is a party drink ideal for southern holidays or any other special occasions. Its making is also simple and straightforward. You would typically need 1-12 ounce can frozen limeade, the same amount of frozen orange juice, 2 cups sweet tea – pick your favorite – as well as 7 cups of water, 1-750 milliliter bottle of Kentucky Bourbon, and some citrus slices for garnish. In a large container, mix orange juice together with the limeade (both still in frozen state) and the sweet tea. Proceed to adding water, and only then the bourbon. Mix well until the frozen ingredients dissolve completely, then let it sit and chill. Serve over ice and garnish with citrus slices.Bushmills Irish Punch
If you want a punch containing traditional Irish whiskey, this is the recipe for you. To serve 3 people (adjust the quantities for more), you would need 4 ounces of Bushmills Irish whiskey, 1 ounce of Drambuie (Scottish malt whiskey), 2 ounces of sour mix, or alternatively 1 ounce of lemon juice and 1 ounce of simple syrup, 1.5 ounces honey, 0.75 c water, as well as 2-2.5 dashes Angostura bitters. To prepare this mixture, combine all ingredients in a common pot. Warm the mix up over medium heat, not forgetting to stir constantly. Transfer to a large punch bowl and serve in coffee mugs, you may garnish it with shaved nutmeg.