July 2nd, 2008


Eastern Standard Flowing Bowl Punch Party - Jackson Cannon

If Monday night’s Flowing Bowl Punch Party, hosted by drinkboston at Eastern Standard, were a high-diving competition, it would score a perfect 10 for both execution and technical difficulty. I mean, how often do you walk into a bar and see 60-odd people holding decorative cups filled with punch made from 200-year-old recipes? How often are you served a drink that involves steeping three kinds of booze, multiple fruits and spices and green tea in hot water for several hours, adding milk, straining the curdled mixture through cheesecloth twice and chilling the finished product down with a massive ring of ice decorated with pineapple slices? And how often do you see bartenders ladling liquid out of large, flowing bowls instead of shaking cocktails?

Eastern Standard Flowing Bowl Punch Party - Chatham Artillery Punch

Thanks to Jackson Cannon and Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli for concocting the four punches — all deceptively potent and enjoyably distinct from one another — from recipes in David Wondrich’s Imbibe!, the Savoy Cocktail Book and Martha Washington’s own notebook. And thanks to the rest of Eastern Standard’s staff for the charcuterie, deviled eggs, beef carpaccio and other tasty bites, and the gracious service.

Below is a list of the punches that were served, along with their key ingredients and bits of historical poetry revealing that odes to alcoholic beverages in America existed well before the Algonquin Round Table. To create these punches yourself, either consult the aforementioned sources or click on the links below.

Eastern Standard Flowing Bowl Punch Party - Savoy Milk Punch No. 1

Philadelphia Fish-House Punch
Toast of Schuylkill and to Independence!

Lemon juice
Cane sugar
Mixture of cognac, rum and house-made peach brandy
Cold water

Created by a colonial rod and gun club on the banks of Pennsylvania’s Schuykill River and remembered in modern times thanks to a recipe passed on by a Philadelphia lawyer, Charles Godfrey Leland.

“There’s a little place just out of town,
Where, if you go to lunch,
They’ll make you forget your mother-in-law
With a drink called Fish-House Punch.”

Martha Washington’s Rum Punch
Cheers to our first First Lady!

Juice of lemons & oranges
Spice mix of clove, cinnamon & nutmeg
Curacao, light & dark rums

This recipe is said to have come from Martha Washington’s own journal.

“This ancient Silver bowl of mine, it tells of good old times,
Of joyous days, and jolly nights and merry Christmas Chimes
They were a free and jovial race, but honest, brave and true,
That dipped their ladle in the punch when this old bowl was new.”

Eastern Standard Flowing Bowl Punch Party - Punch drinkers

Chatham Artillery Punch
For soldiers young and old, men of action, brave and bold!

Pineapples, lemons, oranges & cherries
Native wine, rum & rye
Cherry nectar
Strong green tea & champagne

The house punch of the Chatham Artillery of Savannah, Georgia, formed in 1786. Recipe available in Imbibe!

“When you visit the town of Savannah
Enlist ‘neath the temperance banneh,
For if you should lunch,
On artillery punch,
It will treat you in sorrowful manneh.”

Milk Punch #1
Celebrate the wit and wisdom of Aphra Behn.

Juice and rind of lemons
Spice mix of clove, coriander, cinnamon & green cardamom
Brandy, rum & batavia arrack
Strong green tea, water & milk

Aphra Behn was a 17th-century English dramatist and novelist and the “first woman ever to earn her living solely by writing,” according to Imbibe! She is also credited with inventing milk punch, a drink that is “undeniably smooth, but not necessarily lush,” writes Wondrich. This recipe is the Milk Punch #1 from the Savoy Cocktail Book.

“If all be true that I do think,
There are five reasons we should drink;
Good Punch, a friend, or being dry
Or least we should be by and by,
Or any other reason why!”

Permalink | Filed under Brandy, Events, Punch, Rum, Whiskey | Tags: , , ,

11 Responses to “Punched!”

  1. Tina

    So nice to meet you! We’re definitely having at least one of these for the 4th this weekend. Quaffable, yet dangerously strong. Yum.

  2. ljclark

    Same to you, Tina. What says Independence Day more than old-fashioned American punch?

  3. Alex

    I’m totally not jealous that I live 3000 miles away from Boston. Nope. Not a bit.

  4. ljclark

    Oooooh, punch party on the West Coast!

  5. Adam

    Thanks again for doing this event. It was great to be able to try these punches that I probably otherwise would never had bothered thinking about… I’m looking forward to mixing up a batch of the Fish-House or milk punch next time I throw a party, instead of mixing cocktails. Prior to Monday night, I don’t think I would have thought of that as a potential option, so your party clearly had some impact (whether positive or negative will have to be decided once I try these concoctions on some of my heavier drinking friends)…

  6. Das

    Thanks for the event and it was great meeting you! The punches were definitely high impact – in the best possible way. 🙂

  7. ljclark

    Adam — yeah, I mean, these punches take some effort to make, but once they’re in the bowl sitting on ice, all you have to do is ladle them out to your friends and bask in their awe. Das — I know what you mean, brother.

  8. MC Slim JB

    Sorry I missed this event, it sounded great! That 5:30pm start time was too early for me (to leave work, not to sample punch).

  9. Drew(starr)

    So my wife’s not only spending enough time on drinkboston to get first post, she’s spending enough time to actually pick me out in the photos.

    First photo, to the left of Jackson’s neck is a lamp, then Ian’s head (Hi, Ian, at least I think that’s you), then the red blur that is the brim of my sox cap.

    Anyhow, I just got done making the stock for the Chatham Artillery punch. (Thanks, Tom! if you’re working at all this weekend and want to offer me a critique, I could drop a glass by). It still needs to mature and get the last kick of bubbly, but it tastes like promise thus far.

    And now I’m up past my bedtime because I had a brainstorm while brushing my teeth that the punch needed muskmellon (because I had half a canteloupe sitting in the fridge both taking up space and threatening to go bad if I didn’t pickle or eat it). I had to make a bunch of little substitutions and choices here and there, and would gladly trade experiences with anyone.. my email is my username without parentheses @ gmail.com

    Lauren.. look at what you (and the bartenders you mention on it) have brought us to. 2 years ago, We were still drinking flavored vodka and diet soda. Now, we start at Eastern Standard at 5:30, get to Green St. at 8:30 then back to ES to close the place down. On a Monday.

    The above is not a complaint

  10. ljclark

    MC — Dang, sorry about that. The start times are always perfect for some and unworkable for others. Hope to see you next time.

    Drew — I love stories like yours! From flavored vodka and diet soda to Chatham Artillery Punch in two short years? Yay. Quite a Monday outing you had there.

  11. Michael Dietsch

    I regret that we didn’t make it up for this. Maybe next time. Nevertheless, see you in NOLA!

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