Egg Milk Punch – Jerry Thomas

Use Large bar glass

One teaspoon of fine white sugar

One wineglass of brandy

One-fourth wineglass of Santa Cruz rum

One egg

Small lump of ice

Fill the glass with pure fresh milk, shake the ingredients well together, and strain into a large glass

I remember reading once, that eggs in drinks were a way of providing a meal and energy for a long trip, which spurned the fondness of egg nogg in the US. I normally have a energy slump in the afternoon, which is normally fortified with cookies and cake, today its been fortified with Egg Milk Punch. Last year, as a supportive bet, I gave up coffee for a year. As I don’t smoke I used to punctuate my afternoons with espresso instead, after the success of this drink I think I may start to punctuate them with my daily cocktail.

Jerry Thomas has a very large section of the book devoted to Punch, individual punch or large sharing options. The punch fact I remember most was that the word comes from Sanskrit for 5, as it has 5 ingredients inside, it would seem this is complete fabrication. Punch instead, as a name originated with the navy. Sailors were given a daily rum (or local hooch) ration as the admiralty realised drunk sailors were happy sailors, and far less prone to mutiny. Over time to tone down the volume consumed, this was mixed with citrus to combat scurvy (where the phrase ‘limey’ comes from for a British sailor), sugar to balance the citrus, and a daily ration of the valuable spices they were transporting was thrown in to reduce the impact of ‘sticky fingers’ on cargo levels. All this was put in a large barrel and would be issued by a senior deckhand. Sailors would line up, with their precious cups on chains around their neck to be served the drink from inside a cut down ‘puncheon’ barrel. Guess where the name really came from.

I doubt the British Easy India Company was feeding their crew Egg Milk Punch on the way out to Batavia looking for spices, but I can see how this drink caught on in later years, its delicious and easy to drink, and great as an afternoon hunger suppressant.