Classic Mixology: Cocktail & Mixed Drink Recipes

Punch à la Ford

(A recipe from Benson E. Hill, Esq., author of "The Epicure's Almanac.")
36 lemon

Ingredient: lemon

What it is:  Fruit
Common name for Citrus limon.

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2 pound loaf sugar

Ingredient: loaf sugar

Also Known As:  sugarloaf What it is:  Additive
Traditional form in which refined sugar was produced and sold until the late 19th century when granulated and cube sugars were introduced. A tall cone with a rounded top, it was the end product of a process that saw the dark molasses-rich raw sugar, which had been imported from sugar cane growing regions such as the Caribbean and Brazil, refined into white sugar. Raw cane sugar the best, easily available substitute.

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1 pint Cognac

Ingredient: Cognac

What it is:  Brandy

Variety of grape brandy, produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town of Cognac.

(More about Cognac)

per 3 quarts of water
1 pint Jamaica rum

Ingredient: Jamaica rum

What it is:  Rum
Generic term for dark rum from Jamaica. Dark rum differs from gold in that some residual molasses is retained in the final product, in order to slightly sweeten the flavor. Very popular in the late 1800s and superior to most New England rums. Modern approximations include Inner Circle, Gosling's Black Seal and Pusser's Navy Rum.

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per 3 quarts of water

The late General Ford, who for many years was the commanding engineer at Dover, kept a most hospitable board, and used to make punch on a large scale, after the following method:

He would select three dozen of lemons, the coats of which were smooth, and whose rinds were not too thin; these he would peel with a sharp knife into a large earthen vessel, taking care that none of the rind should be detached but that portion in which the cells are placed, containing the essential oil; when he had completed the first part of the process, he added two pounds of lump-sugar, and stirred the peel and sugar together with an oar-shaped piece of wood, for nearly half an hour, thereby extracting a greater quantity of the essential oil. Boiling water was next poured into the vessel, and the whole well stirred, until the sugar was completely dissolved. The lemons were then cut and squeezed, the juice strained from the kernels; these were placed in a separate jug, and boiling water poured upon them, the general being aware that pips were enveloped in a thick mucilage, full of flavor; half the lemon juice was now thrown in; and as soon as the kernels were free from their transparent coating, their liquor was strained and added.

The sherbet was now tasted; more acid or more sugar applied as required, and care taken not to render the lemonade to watery. "Rich of the fruit, and plenty of sweetness," was the general's maxim. The sherbet was then measured, and to every three quarts a pint of Cognac brandy and a ping of old Jamaica rum were allotted, the spirit being well stirred as poured in; bottling immediately followed, and, when completed, the beverage was kept in a cold cellar, or tank, till required. At the general's table I have frequently drunk punch thus made, more than six months old; and found it much improved by time and a cool atmosphere.