Dry Punch – Recipe from Jerry Tomas’ ‘Bon Vivants Companion’

From a recipe by Santina, the celebrated Spanish caterer 

Two gallons of brandy. 

One gallon of water. 

One-half gallon of tea. 

One pint of Jamaica rum. 

Mix thoroughly, and strain, as already described in the recipe for Punch a la Ford, adding more sugar and lemon 

One-half pint of curacao. 

Juice of six lemons. 

One and one-half pound of white sugar.

juice, to taste. Bottle, and keep on ice for three or four days, and the punch will be ready for use; but the longer it stands, the better it gets.

It’s been too long since I made my last Jerry Thomas drink, and this is mostly because a lot of the recipes look a little daunting from the prospective of how easy it is just to whip one up. I’ve also already covered most of the short drinks in his tome and the longer ones interest me less, which is wrong. I think part of the problem is that looking at a ‘larger’ recipe like this it takes me a little longer to get my head around what it will taste like, how easy it is to put together, and exactly what’s needed, and a lot of the time I probably don’t give my choices enough time to settle on something and things like this get overlooked, especially when I’m at home and choosing a drink becomes more of an exercise of matching the resources I have to possible recipes, luckily, with a little help from my friends, my home bar is growing.

The Santina the recipe mentions I believe is the inventor of more famously the Brandy Crusta something I’ll definitely get round to making as its in at least two of the books. Santina was mixing drinks in New Orleans in the 1850’s or earlier so was an old hand by the time Jerry Thomas starting mixing. Its nice to see a shout out to another bartender in such an old book, and he thoroughly deserves the recognition.

Before starting this project I’d quickly put together a punch converter (email me if you’d like me to send this to you) for realigning the proportions for a punch for 10 to a punch for 1 and I used it for this drink, I also just used tea instead of water, and didn’t bottle it for 3 to 4 days, which I think will have to be my next direction of experiments, and pre bottling things in advance, and the use of a hip flask will make it a lot easier to hit my targets on the go.

This is a great drink, I keep on  getting surprised by how easy to drink and delicious a lot of these punch recipes are, which is kind of stupid considering we were experimenting with punch for about 300 years before this book was printed, if there was ever a section of drinks which ought to be nailed down to perfection its these.

The tea works beautifully, as does the rum, and it blends to make a very drinkable delicious drink, I would whole heartedly recommend giving this a go.