Cocktail (Book) of the Week: How to Mix Drinks (1862)

Cocktail (Book) of the Week: How to Mix Drinks (1862)

Including a warming punch recipe from the first drinks book ever published in the US

News | 08 Oct 2021 | By Beatrix Swanson

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“As it requires genius to make whiskey punch, it would be impertinent to give proportions,” California bartender Jerry Thomas sardonically muses in his 1862 How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion, a highly successful publication considered to be the first-ever guide to cocktail-making.

In fact, he goes on to give quantities—more in the vein of ‘a teacup’ than ‘50ml’, but quantities all the same—in almost all the 81 punch recipes contained in his very entertaining book. Take, for instance, his recipe for ‘Duke of Norfolk Punch’: it calls for "at least thirty lemons and thirty oranges", as well as "twenty quarts of French brandy" and several of "new milk", and requires being mixed in a barrel and being left to stand for at least six weeks in a warm cellar.

In the interest of, well, everything, let us opt instead for a nice, gentle ‘69th Regiment Punch’ (most Victorianishly named after an infantry regiment). After mixing all the ingredients together, serve the punch in mugs as directed — the recipe can make two (depending on the size of your wine glasses).

As Jerry says — in lieu of any further instructions — “This is a capital punch for a cold night.”

69th Regiment Punch

In an earthen mug

One half wine glass Irish whiskey
One half wine glass Scotch whiskey [sic]
One teaspoonful of sugar
One piece of lemon
Two wine glasses of hot water

Photo credit: Dreamstime

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