Drinks

Punch, Toddy, Grog & Co. – Part 5: Punch – The First One Hundred Years

Punch - Titelbild 5.

Having explained why the punch is an Indian and not an English invention, we must now turn to the question of what the first recipes of a punch looked like. What do the old books tell us?

The recipes of the first one hundred years

It is now time to look at the individual recipes and descriptions of punch, particularly from the first one hundred years of records. We will then look at these statistically to paint a more accurate picture of what ingredients originally went into a punch. First of all, let’s start with a chronological listing of the individual citations. We don’t want to comment on them excessively, evaluate and compare them yet. They serve to give us an authentic overview of what was reported about punch. A lot has been written about the Punch, but few have really looked at the original sources.

Mandelslo's Travels into the Indies, 1662, page 18.
Mandelslo’s Travels into the Indies, 1662, page 18. [7-18]

The Mecklenburg nobleman and traveller Johann Albrecht von Mandelsloh [4] reports about the year 1638 in a book published in London in 1662: “On Fridays after Prayers, there was a particular Assembly, at which met with us three other Merchants, who were of kin to the President, and had left as well as he their wives in England, which day being that of their departure from England, they had appointed it for to make a commemoration thereof, and drink their wives health. Some made their advantage of this meeting to get more then they could well carry away, though every man was at liberty to drink what he pleas’d, and to mix the Sack as he thought fit, or to drink Palepuntz, which is a kind of drink consisting of Aquavitae, Rose-water, juice of Citrons and Sugar.[7-18]

Jürgen Andersen began his journey on 24 April 1644, [24-1] arriving in Batavia on 3 November, [24-7] so that we may date his account to this year. In his description of his travels, published in 1669, he reports on the “drinks in Java in the city of Batavia“: [24-9] “But if one drinks another drink in between / which they call palipuntz / the evil is somewhat controlled. One takes half brandy / half water / grated nutmeg / cinnamon powder / sugar / Chinese small limes stirred together / and drinks from it. Also, instead of wine soup, they have a dish / which they call matsack / which is made from 2 parts water / one part brandy / several eggs / cinnamon powder and sugar with bread in it / and is cooked as a wine soup / which gives inebriation.

Adam Olearius: Orientalische Reise-Beschreibunge Jürgen Andersen aus Schleßwig. 1669, page 10.
Adam Olearius: Orientalische Reise-Beschreibunge Jürgen Andersen aus Schleßwig. 1669, page 10. [24-10]

– „Geträncke auf Iava in der Stadt Batavia“: [24-9]Wenn man aber ein ander Geträncke darzwischen trincket / so sie Palipuntz nennen / wird dem Ubel in etwas gesteuret. Man nimpt halb Brandwein / halb Wasser / geriebene Muscaten Nüsse / Cannel-Pulver / Zucker / Chinesische kleine Limonien durcheinander gerühret / und davon getruncken. Auch haben sie an stat der Weinsuppen ein Gerichte / so sie Matsack nennen / wird gemachet aus 2. theil Wasser / ein theil Brandwein / etliche Eyer / Cannel Pulver und Zucker mit Brodt drein / wird als eine Weinsuppe gekochet / gibt räusche.[24-10]

Richard Ligon: A trve & exact history of the island of Barbados. 1657, page 32.
Richard Ligon: A trve & exact history of the island of Barbados. 1657, page 32. [25-32]
In 1647, Richard Ligon reports on various drinks of the island in his History of Barbados: -“Punch is a fourth sort, & of that I have drunke; it is made of water & sugar put together, which in tenne dayes standing will be very strong, and fit for labourers.” [25-32]

In 1653, François La Boullaye-Le-Gouz wrote: “Bolleponge is an English word denoting a drink which the English have from India, and made of sugar, lemon juice, brandy, mace and toasted biscuits.[6-516]

François La Boullaye-Le-Gouz: Les voyages et observations dv sievr de La Bovllaye-Le-Govz, 1653, page 516.
François La Boullaye-Le-Gouz: Les voyages et observations dv sievr de La Bovllaye-Le-Govz, 1653, page 516. [6-516]
– „Bolleponge est vn mot Anglois, qui signifie vne boisson dont les Anglois vient aux Indes faire de sucre, suc de limon, eau de vie, fleur de muscade, & biscuit rosty.[6-516]

1659 Johann Jacob Saar ended his fifteen years of war service in the East Indies. In 1662 he published his experiences and reports in the chapter “Description of the beautiful and large island of Ceylon“: “Otherwise, not only is the drink made from the Clapper trees called siere / of which I will soon speak: but they have even more of these / as first of all the * massack, which is made in this way: Depending on whether they want a lot / or a little / they take four / five / six measures of siere, and when they have warmed it / they do two / three measures of arack, like brandy / into it / beat into a bowl twenty / thirty / forty / eggs / and beat it very small / and gradually put a little of the warm siere into the bowl / but stir it all the while / so that it doesn’t run together / finally two / three / pieces of cinnamon / and nutmeg / grated finely / underneath / and pour it all together / o that it, drunk warm, not only has an excellent taste: but also satiates mightily / and fattens. For the other, vin perle, which is half water / half arack, is boiled together / with two / three / eggs beaten in / lemons pressed into it / sugar / cinnamon / and nutmeg flowers / made into a pleasant drink. For the third / † Palebunze titled, of half water / half brandy / thirty / forty / lemons / whose grains are spit out / and a little sugar thrown in / as not so pleasant to the taste: So also not to the health. … * Jürgen Andersen calls / pag. 10. the Massac, a dish instead of the wine soup / and also describes it like this: It is made of two parts of water / one part of brandy / some eggs / cinnamon powder / and sugar with bread in it / is cooked like a wine soup / and gives inebriation. … †  The drink is common throughout India. In Persia too. Herr von Mandelslo describes it / as he found it at Gamron / Lib.I. p. m. 25. It is strong brandy / citron juice / sugar / and rose water / mixed together / soon makes drunk / causes hot fever / and dysentery / that if one is not then well taken care of / falls down like flies / and dies. Jürgen Andersen / Lib. I. p. m. 19. also says: Take half brandy / half water / grated nutmegs / cinnamon powder / sugar / Chinese small lemons stirred together / and drink from it.[33-59] [33-60]

Johann Jacob Saar: Ost-Indianische Funfzehen-Jährige Kriegs-Dienste, 1672, page 59-60.
Johann Jacob Saar: Ost-Indianische Funfzehen-Jährige Kriegs-Dienste, 1672, page 59-60. [33-59] [33-60]

– “Beschreibung der schönen und grossen Insul Ceilon“: “Sonst aber ist nicht nur allein von den Clapperbäumen das gemachte Getränck Siere genennt / davon Ich bald reden will: sondern noch mehr derselben haben Sie / als erstlich den * Massack, das also gemacht wird: Nachdem viel / oder wenig / den wollen / nehmen Sie vier / fünf / sechs Maas Siere, und wann Sie den warm gemacht / thun Sie zwey / drey Maas Arack, wie Brantwein / darein / schlagen in eine Schüssel zwantzig / dreyssig / viertzig / Eyer / und klopfens gar klein / und thun allmählig ein wenig von dem warmen Siere in die Schüssel / rührens aber doch alleweil dabey / daß nicht zusamm lauffe / endlich zwey / drey / Stück Zimmet / und Mußcadnüssen / klein gerieben / darunter / und schütten es alles untereinander / daß es warm getruncken / nicht nur einen trefflichen Geschmack hat: sondern auch mächtig sättiget / und mastet. Fürs ander Vin perle, das ist ein halb Wasser / ein halb Arack, wird miteinander gesotten / mit zwey / drey / Eyern eingeschlagen / Citronen darein gedruckt / Zucker / Zimmet / und Mußcaden-Blumen / zu einen angenehmen Tranck gemachet. Fürs Dritte / † Palebunze getituliret, von halb Wasser / halb Brantwein / dreyssig / viertzig / Limonien / deren Körnlein ausgespeyet werden / und ein wenig Zucker eingeworfen / wie dem Geschmack so angenehm nicht: Also auch der Gesundheit nicht. … * Jürgen Andersen nennet / pag. 10. den Massac, ein Gerücht an Statt der Weinsuppen / und beschreibets auch so: Es werde gemachet aus zwey Theil Wasser / ein Theil Brantwein / etlichen Eyern / Cannel-Pulver / und Zucker mit Brod drein / werde wie ein Weinsuppen gekochet / und gebe Räusche. … † In gantz Indien ist das Getränck gebräuchlich. In Persien auch. Herr vo Mandelslo beschreibt es / wie Ers zu Gamron gefunden / Lib. I. p. m. 25. es werde von starcken Brantwein / Citronensaft / Zucker / und Rosenwasser / untereinander gemischet / mache bald truncken / verursache hitzige Fieber / und rohte Ruhr / daß wann man alsdenn nicht wohl in acht genommen werde / als die Fliegen hinfalle / und sterbe. Jürgen Andersen / Lib. I. p. m. 19. sagt auch: Man nehme halb Brantwein / halb Wasser / geriebene Muscaden-Nüsse / Cannel-Pulver / Zucker / Chinesische kleine Limonien durcheinander gerühret / und davon getruncken.[33-59] [33-60]

Anonymus: A constitution of the historie of Monsieur Bernier, volume 4, 1676, page 154.
Anonymus: A constitution of the historie of Monsieur Bernier, volume 4, 1676, page 154. [8-154]
An English book about the English published in 1676 reports on a journey made by Monsieur Bernier in 1664: “Yet since the time that they have taken care and made orders, as well as the Hollanders, that their people shall not drink so much Bouleponges, nor go so often a shore to visit the Sellers of Arac and Tobacco, and the Indian Women; and since they have found, that a little Wine of Bordeaux, Canary or Chiras is a marvellous Antidote against the ill Air; there is not so much sickness amongst them, nor do they now lose so many men. Bouleponge is a certain beverage made of Arac, that is, of strong water, black sugar, with the Juice of Limon water, and a little Muscadine upon it; which is pleasant enough to the taste, but a plague to the Body and to Health.[8-154]

Johan Nieuhof came to India in the early 1660s with the East India Company, which at that time took several trading cities on the south coast of India from the Portuguese. From 1663 to 1666, he was director of the Malabar Coast branches. Due to disputes with the Governor General in Batavia, he was transferred to Sri Lanka and left the service of the Company in 1667. He wrote down what he experienced in India and Indonesia in a book. He also provided one of the best descriptions of old Batavia, where he lived as a privateer from 1667 to 1670.[52] The preface of this book is dated 24 October 1670, so his descriptions from Batavia must be dated to the end of the 1660s. He describes the various inhabitants of Batavia and mentions the Chinese, who were good masons and carpenters. In the following paragraph he then writes: “Some also sell sugar beer, as well as boiled food and sury, arrack, or Indian brandy: whereof they make massak, and follepons, [as ?] the English call it …. .[51-217#2] Unfortunately, we have not been able to translate the following words meaningfully verbatim. It seems to say something like the common people cheerfully spend their stuivers, which are small penny coins, [53] on it.

Anonymus: Joan Nieuhofs zee en lantreize. 1682, page 217.
Anonymus: Joan Nieuhofs zee en lantreize. 1682, page 217. [51-217#2]

– »Eenigen verkoopen ook zuikerbier, als ook gekookte kost en Sury, Arak, of Indische brandewijn: waer van zy Massak maken, en Follepons, gelijk het d’Engellanders noemen, daer de gemeene luiden hunne stuivers, met gene gesloten hant; maer ope hert, en vrolijk voorlaten stuiven.« [51-217#2]

Unfortunately, it is not quite clear who is meant by ‘some’. Is it the Chinese or some of the inhabitants? In any case, the follow-up paragraph continues with “But the most respected hosts and innkeepers are the Dutch … ” – “Maer d’aenzienlijkste gasthouders en herbergiers zijn de Hollanders … ” followed by “The arrack distillers are mostly Chinese … ” – “D’Arakbranders zijn meestendeel Sinesen …[51-217#2]

Hannah Wooley: The Queen-Like Closet, 1670, page 155.
Hannah Wooley: The Queen-Like Closet, 1670, page 155. [12-155]

In 1670, this recipe appears in a book for ladies: „To make Punch. Take one Quart of Claret Wine, half a Pint of Brandy, and a little Nutmeg grated, little Sugar, and the Juice of a Limon, and so drink it.[12-155]

Also in 1670, a German book reports on the hospitality of the Indians: “Just as water is their drink for their daily needs, so Persian wine is drunk at the banquets of honour of wealthy people, of which a measure of six pounds is worth two rupees (or one Reichsthaler), for there is no country wine among them, as it is not cultivated in India. Besides this, one uses a brandy made from dates, sugar and palm wine: (a) likewise the drink Palepunz. Which, as Andersen suggests in the 7th chapter of the first book, is prepared from water and brandy (one taken as much as the other) with grated nutmeg, powdered cinnamon, sugar and small Chinese lemons, stirred together.[21-859]

Erasmus Francisci: Neu-polirter Geschicht- Kunst- und Sitten-Spiegel ausländischer Völcker, 1670, page 859.
Erasmus Francisci: Neu-polirter Geschicht- Kunst- und Sitten-Spiegel ausländischer Völcker, 1670, page 859. [21-859]

– “Gleichwie / zu täglicher Nothdurfft / das Wasser ihr Getränke ist: also wird / bey den Ehren-Gelagen vermöglicher Leute / Persischer Wein getruncken: davon eine Maß von sechs Pfunden zwey Rupien (oder einen Reichsthaler) gilt: denn es gibt / bey ihnen / kein Land-Wein; als der / in Indien / nicht gebauet wird. Neben dem / gebraucht man sich eines / aus Datteln / Zucker / und Palm-Wein gemachten / Brandweins: (a) imgleichen deß Geträncks Palepunz. Welches / wie derselbe Andersen / im 7. Capitel deß Ersten Buchs / gedenckt / bereitet wird / von Wasser und Brandwein (eines so viel als deß andern genommen) mit geriebenen Muscat-Nüssen / Zimmt-Pulver / Zucker / und Sinesischen kleinen Limonien / durcheinander gerühret.[21-859]

W. Hughes: The American physitian, 1672, page 49-50.
W. Hughes: The American physitian, 1672, page 49-50. [13-49] [13-59]

In 1672 it is written: “Also the juyce of Limes is exceedingly much in esteem in America for the making of Punch; a drink which most there use, to be merry withal, and the chiefest liquor they make use of to entertain strangers and friends. It is made of Spirit of Wine (or else with Rum) Water and Sugar, which as much of the juyce of Limes as will give it a fine picquancie or sharpness.[13-49] [13-50]

John Fryer: A new account of East-India and Persia, 1698, page 157.
John Fryer: A new account of East-India and Persia, 1698, page 157. [9-157]

In 1698, John Fryer published his book about a journey that took place between 1672 and 1681. He has something to say about Goa: „At Nerule is made the best Arach or Nepa de Goa, with which the English on this Coast make that enervating Liquor called Paunch (which is Indostan for Five) from Five Ingredients; as the Physicians name their Composition Diapente; or from Four things, Diatesseron.[9-157]

J. Worlidge: Vinetum Britannicum, 1678, page 10.
J. Worlidge: Vinetum Britannicum, 1678, page 10. [10-10]

In 1678 J. Wolidge writes: “Pale-puntz, here vulgarly known by the name of Punch; a Drink compounded of Brandy or Aqua Vitae, Juice of Lemons, Oranges, Sugar, and such like; very usual amongst those that frequent the Sea, where a Bowl of Punch is an usual Beverage.[10-10]

In 1684 Thomas Tryon reported on the West Indies: “In particular, there is a pernicions sort of Drink in great Reputation and Use amongst them, call’d, PUNCH, which with your leave, I shall give you some Account of, as to both its Nature and Operation, to the end we may expell and prevent, even in the bud, the growth of such evil Customs and Habits amongst us. This sort of beloved Liquor is made of Brandy or Run, Sugar, Water, Lime-Iuice, and sometimes Ginger or Nutmegs: Now here are four or five Ingredients, all of as different Natures as Light is from Darkness, and all great Extreams in their kind, except only the Water.[11-110] [11-111]

Henry Mundy: Opera omnia medico-physica, 1685, page 347.
Henry Mundy: Opera omnia medico-physica, 1685, page 347. [19-347]
1685 In 1685, Henry Mundy reported that palopunzia was popular with the Indians and was prepared from lemon juice, rose water and arrack, although the Europeans also took brandy. Seamen and merchants in particular drink this mixture. [19-347] He alternatively uses the term palopuntz and punch. [19-334]

Henry Mundy: Opera omnia medico-physica, 1685, page 334.
Henry Mundy: Opera omnia medico-physica, 1685, page 334. [19-334]

– „CElebris cinnus apud Indos est palopunzia; quam è Limonum sylvestrum succo, aquâ rosaceâ, & suâ uraquâ componunt, pro uraquâ Europaei spiritum vini substituunt, quibus est potus nauticus: cui nautae, & mercatores potissimùm indulgent.[19-347]“In potu nautico dicto Palopuntz, nostris punch, succus limonum sylvestrium est basis, cui vim inebriantem arracke, seu spiritus vini afferunt, saccharum aciditatem mitigat.[19-334]

William Dampier: The Supplement of the Voyage round the World, Vol. II part I, 1699, page 174.
William Dampier: The Supplement of the Voyage round the World, Vol. II part I, 1699, page 174. [26-174]
In 1688 William Dampier is on the island of Pulo Dinding on the coast of Malacca and reports: “The Governor met them at landing, and conducted them into the Dining Room I spoke of, where they treated the Governor with Punch, made of Brandy, Sugar, and Lime-juice, which they brought with them from aboard“. [26-174]

William Salmon: Pharmacopoeia Bateana, 1694, page 759.
William Salmon: Pharmacopoeia Bateana, 1694, page 759. [14-759]
In 1694, a recipe with exact quantities was published:- “§3. If you would make a pleasant and grateful sort of Punch, you must compose it with the following quantities. … Fair Water a Quart: choiee and pure Lime Juice, almost half a Pint : double refined Sugar, three quarters of a Pound : mix and perfectly dissolve the Sugar : then add French Brandy a full Pint; and if you so please one Nutmeg grated.[14-759]

In his book ‘Nouveau voyage aux îles de l’Amérique’, ‘New Voyage to the Islands of America’, published in 1722, he reports from 1694 in the first volume about different kinds of drinks: “The first is called Sang-gris and consists of Madeira wine, which one puts into a bowl of crystal or faience with sugar, lemon juice, a little cinnamon and clove powder, a lot of nutmeg and a toasted or even somewhat burnt crust of bread. When you think the spirit has taken on the flavour of the things you put in it, you pass it through a fine cloth. … The third drink of the English is the ponche, their favourite, which consists of two parts brandy and one part water. The same ingredients are used as in the Sang-gris, except the lemon, which is replaced by egg yolk, which makes it as thick as brouet. They claim that this is an excellent thing for the breast and very nutritious. Milk is often used instead of water, and this is most appreciated. Since it is not permissible to judge tastes, everyone can make up their own minds about this mishmash as they wish.[39-136] [39-137]

Anonymus (Jean Baptiste Labat): Nouveau voyage aux isles de l'Amerique. 1724, page 135-136.
Anonymus (Jean Baptiste Labat): Nouveau voyage aux isles de l’Amerique. 1724, page 135-136. [39-136] [39-137]

– “La premiere s’appelle Sang-gris; elle est composée de vin de Madere que l’on met dans une jatte de cristal ou de fayance avec du sucre, du jus de citron, un peu de canelle & de gerofle enpoudre, beaucoup de muscade & une croute de pain rotie, & même un peu brûlée. Lorsqu’on juge que a liqueur a pris le goût des choses qu’on y a mises, on la passe par un linge fin.La troisiéme boisson des Anglois est la Ponche, c’est leur boisson favorite; elle est composée de deux parties d’eau-de-vie sur une d’eau. On y met les mêmes ingrédiens que dans le Sang-gris, excepté le citron, à la place duquel on met des jaunes d’œufs qui la redent épaisse comme du broüet. Ils pretendent que c’est une chose excellente pour la proitrine & sort nourrissante. Souvent au lieu d’eau on y met du lait, & c’est la plus estimée. Comme il n’est pas permis de juger des goûts, chacun pourra porter tel jugement qu’il voudra de ce salmigondis.[39-136] [39-137]

Christoph Langhanß, born in Breslau, travelled through the West Indies, came to the Dutch East Indies in 1693 as a soldier via Hamburg and Amsterdam and returned from there in 1696. He undertook further journeys, for example to Greenland, then lived in Breslau again and wrote his book ‘Neue Ost-Indische Reise’ (New East-Indian Journey), which was published in Leipzig in 1705. [48] He describes the conditions in Batavia as he had observed them in the mid-1690s. He also goes into detail about the drinks commonly consumed there. This is an incredibly valuable contribution to the history of punch, because he not only gives us a recipe for punch, but also describes from his own experience what other drinks were drunk in Batavia. This makes it easier to place the punch in its environment. That is why we want to let Christoph Langhanß have his say: “Among those Europeans who run inns, one can get all kinds of patriotic drinks, but they are rather expensive, as for a bottle (of a quart) of Rhenish or French wine, also sack, 1 Rthl. for half a pot-bottle full of Brunswick Mumme 1/2 Rthl. This Mumme is customarily mixed half with sugar-beer, and then called Schamperade, which is almost the meanest drink in India, without the Indian drinks. Many such innkeepers live around the square, because most of the seafaring people have their exit and entrance there … .[47-185] [47-186]

Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 185-186.
Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 185-186. [47-185] [47-186]

“Bey denen Europæern / welche Gastwirthschaft treiben / kan man allerhand vaterländische Getränke bekommen / so aber ziemlich theuer sind / als vor eine Butellie (von einem Quart) Rheinisch oder Frantz-Wein auch Secc, 1. Rthl. vor eine halbe Topfflasche voll Braunschweigische Mumme 1/2 Rthl. diese Mumme pfleget man halb mit Zucker-Bier zu mengen / und alsdenn Schamperade zu nennen / welches fast der gemeinste Trank in Indien ist / ohne die Indische Getränke. Um das Vierkandt wohnen sehr viel solcher Gastwirthe / weil allda die meisten Seefahrenden Leute ihren Aus- und Eingang haben … .[47-185] [47-186]

“To think about the different Indian drinks, the Chinese also give me cause here, which I will briefly describe one after the other. What the tea-water is, which is the most common Indian drink, is already sufficiently known; only this I must say, that the emperor’s tea from Japan, and the young tea or the tea flower, has a far better and entirely different taste before the other, and the greener the tea or its water, the better; but that which looks reddish is old, and is called the tea boy in India. Otherwise, one tea has a peculiar aftertaste before the other, which Dutch women know well how to distinguish. If you buy tea-water from the Chinese, you get different confections with it, which they know how to prepare very well. Every year they receive with their juggernauts or vehicles, along with their other goods, a drink from Sina, which they call Sam Chu. This is brought in very thick jugs, which hold 1 quart or 2 in measure, and are so firmly covered with lime on top that no air can get into them. This potion is made from rice, as many people think of it, and just as the Chinese use it when they want to make something strong, they dig it into the earth, so they also dig this into the earth, which then becomes brown in colour and very strong. The taste is not too delicious, but in order to make a comparison, I will not do it an injustice if I say that it tastes like our wall lice or bugs smell. The Japanese also make a similar drink, which is called sackie, and is said to be brewed from rice and wheat, which is also very popular in India, and if one is somewhat accustomed to the taste, many of them prefer to drink it rather than Sec, because it does not make one so obese, especially in warm countries, and is considered to be a healthy drink.” [47-197][47-198][47-199]

Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 197-199.
Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 197-199. [47-197] [47-198] [47-199]

“Der unterschiedlichen Indischen Geträncke zu gedenken / geben mir auch hier die Chinesen Anlaß / welche ich in aller Kürze nach einander erzehlen wil. Was Thee-Wasser sey / welches der gemeinste Indische Trank ist / das ist vorhero schon zu Genüge bekant / nur dieses muß ich sagen / daß der Kayser-Thee aus Japan, und der junge Thee oder Thee Blum / vor dem andern / einen weit bessern und gantz andern Geschmack hat / und je grüner der Thee oder dessen Wasser / je besser; der jenige aber welcher was röthlich aussieht / ist alt / und wird in Indien Thee boy genannt. Sonst hat auch ein Thee vor dem andern einen sonderlichen Nachschmack / welchen die Holländischen Weiber wohl zu unterscheiden wissen. Wenn man bey den Chinesen Thee-Wasser kauffet so bekom̄t man unterschiedliche Confecturen darzu / die sie sehr wohl zuzurichten wissen. Sie bekommen jährlich mit ihren Joncken oder Fahrzeugen / nebst ihren andern Waaren / einen Tranck aus Sina, welchen sie Sam Chu heissen / dieser wird in sehr dicken Krügen gebracht / welche dem Maasse nach 1 Quart auch 2 halten / und oben mit Kalcke so feste vermacht sind / daß keine Luft darzu kan. Dieser Trank wird / wie ihrer viele davor halten, von Reiß gebrauet / und gleich wie es die Chinesen im Brauche haben / wenn sie etwas Kräfftiges machen wollen / daß sie es in die Erde graben / also graben sie diesen auch in die Erde / welcher denn an Farbe gantz braune / und sehr starck wird. Der Geschmack ist nicht alzu köstlich / damit ich aber eine Vergleichung mache / so werde ich ihm nicht unrecht thun / wenn ich sage / er schmecke / wie unsere Wand-Läuse / oder Wanzen riechen. Die Japanier machen auch einen dergleichen Trank / welcher Sackie genant wird / und von Reiß und Weitzen soll gebrauen seyn / auf den auch in Indien sehr viel gehalten wird / und wenn man den Geschmack etwas gewohnt ist / so trincken ihrer viele ihn lieber / als Sec, denn er sonderlich in warmen Ländern so koppieg nicht macht / und vor einen gesunden Tranck gehalten wird.[47-197] [47-198] [47-199]

Arack is indeed distilled in all places in India, but the Chinese know best how to deal with it and make it as strong as brandy can ever be, for which reason they have also rented from the company in Batavia different arack distilleries, which are not unlike our beer breweries. But to tell you how and from what the arack is distilled, the sury of the coconut tree is distilled after it has stood for a night and gone a little sour, and then they call it knip, and when this knip is distilled again, it is stronger and as strong as French brandy, and so it is called arack. They also distil such with aniseed and more, and in particular great trade is done with it in India, in that the company annually buys several 100 barrels of such brandy from the Chinese. The company annually buys several hundred barrels of such brandy from the Chinese to use on the ships instead of brandy, and half a bottle full of such arack can be bought in Batavia for 3 good groschen, without what else is consumed daily in the country and used for other drinks, which I also want to touch on here.[47-199] [47-200]

Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 199-200.
Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 199-200. [47-199] [47-200]

– “Es wird zwar in Indien aller Orthen Arack gebrennet / doch wissen die Chinesen am besten damit umbzugehen / und machen ihn so starck / als Branndtewein immer seyn kann / umb derer Ursache halben / sie auch von der Compagnie auf Batavia unterschiedene Aracks-Brennereyen gemiethet / welche unsern Bier-Brau-Häusern nicht ungleich sehen. Darmit ich aber sage / wie und von was der Arack gebrennet werde / so wird die Sury vom Cocos-Baume / wenn sie eine Nacht gestanden / und etwas sauer worden ist / abgezogen / und dann nennen sie es Knip, wenn dieser Knip noch einmal über gezogen wird / so ist er stärcker / und wohl so starck als Frantze-Branndtewein / und wird so denn Arack genennt. Sie ziehen auch solchen mit Anis und mehr andern über / und wird insonderheit grosser Handel in Indien damit getrieben / indem die Compagnie Jährlich etliche 100. Fässer / solchen Branndtewein den Chinesen abkauffet / solchen an statt des Brandteweins auf den Schiffen zu gebrauchen / von dergleichen Arack man eine halbe Topff-Flasche voll vor 3. gute Groschen auf Batavia kauffen kan / ohne was noch sonst im Lande täglich consumiret / und zu andern Geträncke gebrauchet wird / welches ich auch allhier in etwas berühren will.[47-199] [47-200]

“First of all, they pour arack or knip under warm thee-water, put some sugar in it and the boat people call this gloria or Kinder-Thee-Wasser [children’s tea-water].[47-200] “Then they also make Kletzkletz in the following way: They pour some tea-water into a bowl, put a handful of sugar rock candies in it and beat it with a split Rotting until it has dissolved; while beating it, they beat 8 or 10 eggs into it. When it is well beaten, one adds as much arack as one wants to have it strong, then one grates a little of a nutmeg over it and drinks this instead of a warm wine. Massack is also made in this manner, except that instead of the water of the tea, warmly made sury is used.[47-200] “Brombrom is a very strong potion, which makes the head very torn and drunk; in taste and colour it is like Spanish wines; it is made of Indian dried grapes called Latu, and is boiled down with arack and sugar.”  [47-200] [47-201]The pontz or burepontz, as the Dutch call it, is made like this: they take fresh well water and squeeze the juice of lemons or lemches into it, then sweeten it with sugar and pour the arak into it. This potion is not very healthy to drink, but the people of England think much of it, and consider it a special honour to treat their friends, whom they visit, with pontze.[47-201]

Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 200-201.
Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 200-201. [47-200] [47-201]

– “Erstlich giessen Sie unter warm Thee-Wasser Arack oder Knip, thun etwas Zucker darein und solches nennen die Boots-Leute Gloria oder Kinder-Thee-Wasser.[47-200] “Hernach machen sie auch Kletzkletz, auf folgende Art: Nehmlich sie giessen etwas Thee-Wasser in eine Schüssel / thun eine Hand voll Zucker Candys darein / und durchklopfen solches mit einer gespaltenen Rotting / bis es zergangen ist / unter wehrenden Klopfen / schlägt man 8. oder 10. Eyer darein / und wenn es denn wohl durch einander geklopfet ist / so geust man so viel Arack darein / als man es starck haben will / hernach reibt man etwas von einer Muscat-Nuß darüber / und trincket solches an statt eines warmen Weins. Auf solche Manier machet man auch Massack, nur daß man statt des Thee-Wassers / warm gemachte Sury nimbt.[47-200] “Brombrom ist ein sehr starcker Tranck / welcher den Kopff sehr zerreist / und truncken macht / am Geschmacke und der Farbe ist er den Spanischen Weine gleich / er wird von Indischen abgedörten Wein-Trauben Latu genannt / gemacht / und mit Arack und Zucker abgesotten.[47-200] [47-201]Den Pontz oder Burepontz, wie es die Holländer nennen / machen sie also: Sie nehmen frisch Brunnen-Wasser und drücken den Safft von Lemonen oder Lemches darein / hernach machen sie solches mit Zucker süsse / und giessen den Arack darunter. Dieser Tranck zwar / ist nicht allzugesund zu trinken / doch halten die Engeländer viel drauf / und schätzen es vor eine sonderbahre Ehre / ihre Freunde / welche sie besuchen / mit Pontze zu tractieren.[47-201]

Although no beer is brewed in the whole of India, they still make a beer from sugar to help themselves to it when they are thirsty; the Dutch or Europeans make bottled beer in the following way. First one pours into a bottle of 1 quart or 1.5 quarts a Theekopgen of Mumme or English or Zerbster beer and then a Kopgen full of syrup and some brewer’s yeast, then one fills the bottle with water, plugs it and connects it well, so that no air can get into it, and this one lets work among each other, so that sometimes the bottles burst from it. If you open one of these, you must soon be on top of it with your thumbs, otherwise all the beer should run out and spurt upwards with force, but within 24 hours such a bottle is already good to drink.The common sugar beer is made in this way: one takes a herb called Margosæ, which is quite similar to our hops, but somewhat smaller, and generally grows on the trees on which it twines. This is boiled and used instead of hops because it is somewhat bitter. Then the water is poured warm into vessels, several pieces of sugar are put into it, and when it has stood for a few days it is good to drink.[47-201] [47-202]

Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 201-202.
Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 201-202. [47-201] [47-202]

“Ob gleich in gantz Indien kein Bier gebrauen wird / so macht man doch von Zucker ein Bier / sich vor den Durst desselbigen zu bedienen / die Holländer oder Europeer machen sich Buttel-Bier auf folgende Art: Man giest erst in ein Buttel von 1. Quart oder anderthalbe ein Theekopgen voll Mumme / oder Englisch- oder Zerbster-Bier / und denn ein Kopgen voll Sirop / und etwas Bierhefen / alsdenn füllet man / die Buttelie mit Wasser / verstopffet und verbindet sie wohl / daß keine Lufft darzu kan / und solches läst man unter einander arbeiten / daß auch manchmal die Buttels davon zu springen. Wenn man solche aufmacht / muß man bald mit den Daumen oben darüber seyn / sonst solte alles Bier heraus lauffen / und mit Gewalt in die Höhe spritzen / es ist aber innerhalb 24. Stunden / so eine Buttelie schon gut zu trinken. Das gemeine Zucker-Bier / wird also gemacht: Man nimt ein Kraut Margosæ genannt / das unserm Hopfe gantz gleich / iedoch etwas kleiner ist / und insgemein an den Bäumen wächset / an welche es sich schlinget. Dieses wird gekocht / und an statt des Hopfens / weil es etwas bitter ist / gebraucht / alsdenn wird das Wasser warm in Gefässe gegossen / etliche Stücke Zucker darein geleget / und wenn es ein paar Tage gestanden / so ist es gut zu trincken / wenn man etwas mehr Zucker nimt / und es also länger arbeiten läst / so wird es Cras-Bier genennt / darumb / daß es so starck wird / daß man sich voll daran trincken kan.[47-201] [47-202]

So let’s summarise: You could get Rhine wine, French wine, sack (as described for sangaree, these are wines from Spain and the Canary Islands pressed from dried berries), Braunschweig Mumme (a beer from Braunschweig), sugar beer, tea, sam chu (a drink from China brewed from rice), sake (from Japan), sury (palm wine), knip (single-distilled palm wine) and arrack (double-distilled palm wine, also distilled with aniseed and others). In terms of mixed drinks, there was Schamperade (equal amounts of Braunsschweig Mumme and sugar beer), Gloria or Kinder-Thee-Wasser (tea, arrack or knip, sugar), Kletzkletz (tea, sugar, eggs, arrack, nutmeg), Massak (warm palm wine, sugar, eggs, arrack, nutmeg), Brombrom (similar to a Spanish wine, prepared from Indian grapes, boiled with arrack and sugar), Punch (called Pontz or Burepontz; water, lemon juice, sugar, arrack).

Alcohol was, no wonder, also popular with the soldiers and of course also forbidden. Christoph Langhanß reports on his experiences in the fort of Batavia: “Here I cannot leave unsaid that on all guards, especially in the fort, it is forbidden to bring strong drink or Indian brandy, which is called arak and knip, so that no one can get drunk, which is a common vice here in particular, for which reason those who go out on their day off are always inspected when they arrive. But the greater the prohibition, the more practices are used to bring such concealed, among other things I have seen that they carried a bladder in a jug, which had a narrow neck, this bladder was filled with arack, tied up, and let into the jug, over which they poured milk, so that it should appear as if there were only milk and no strong drink in it, but as soon as they were with their comrades, the little milk was poured out, and the bladder was cut into pieces, whereupon they made themselves merry with each other, so that at times the corporals had to do with their cane sticks, and had to play the divorce music.[47-167] [47-168]

Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 167-168.
Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. 1705, page 167-168. [47-167] [47-168]

“Hierbey kan ich nicht ungesaget lassen / daß auf allen Wachen / insonderheit im Castell, verbothen ist / starck Geträncke oder Indischen Brandtewein zu bringen / welcher Arack und Knip genennet wird / damit sich nieman voll trincken könne / welches hier insonderheit ein gemein Laster ist / deswegen die jenigen / so ihren freyen Tag auszugehen gehabt / allezeit wenn sie einkommen / besichtiget werden. Je grösser aber das Verboth / je mehr Practiquen werden gebrauchet / solchen verborgen mit zu bringen / unter andern habe ich gesehen / daß sie eine Blase in einer Kanne trugen / die einen engen Halß hatte / welche Blase mit Arack gefüllet / zugebunden / und in die Kanne gelassen wurde / worüber sie nachmahls Milch gossen / daß es das Ansehen haben solte / als wäre nur Milch und kein starck Geträncke darinnen / so bald sie aber bey ihren Cammeraden waren / wurde die wenige Milch abgegossen / und die Blase in Stücken gestochen / darauf sie sich also mit einander lustig machten / daß zu weilen die Corporals mit ihren Rohrstäben zu thun bekamen / und die Scheidungs-Musique spielen musten.[47-167] [47-168]

Hans Sloane: A voyage to the islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica, 1707, page xxviiii.
Hans Sloane: A voyage to the islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica, 1707, page xxviiii. [15-xxviiii]

In 1707 Hans Sloane wrote about the West Indies: “The common fuddling Liquor of the more ordinary sort is Rum-Punch, to the composition of which goes Rum, Water, Lime-juice, Sugar, and a little Nutmeg scrap’d on the top of it.[15-xxviiii]

Anonymus (John Oldmixon): The British empire in America, 1708, page 115.
Anonymus (John Oldmixon): The British empire in America, 1708, page 115. [16-115]

In 1708, John Oldmixon reported on the West Indies: “The more sanguine People entertain one another with Punch, made of the best Ingredients, Lemons, double refin’d Sugar, Spring-Water, and right French Brandy.[16-115]

Anonymus: The political state for the month of August 1724, page 153.
Anonymus: The political state for the month of August 1724, page 153. [17-153]

According to a privateer, punch was also drunk hot. 1724 is reported: “Upon his Arrival here, Captain Hawkins gave the Publick the following further Particulars, viz. […][17-151] “In the Morning they enquire who was drunk the last Night, and whosoever is voted so, must either be at the Mast-Head four Hours, or receive a Tenhanded Copty, (or ten Blows on the Breech,) from the whole Watch. … They seldom let the Man at the Mast-Head cool upon it, but order him to let down a Rope to hawl up some hot Punch, which is a Liquor every Man drinks early in the Morning. They live very merrily all Day; at Meals the Quarter-Master overlooks the Cook, to see the Provisions equally distributed to each Mess; whether they were drunk or sober, I never heard them drink any other Health than King George’s.[17-153]

Anonymus: A new voyage round the world, 1725, page 119.
Anonymus: A new voyage round the world, 1725, page 119. [28-119]

In 1713 one sets off on a journey around the world, reaches the Marianas in 1714 and writes: – “We stor’d our selves likewise with Oranges and Lemons, and buying a great Quantity of very good Limes, we made three or four Hogsheads of Limejuice; which was a great Relief to our Men in the hot Season, to mix with their Water; as for making Punch, we had some Arrack and some Sugar, but neither of them in any Quantity, so as to have much Punch made afore the Mast.[28-119]

Guy Miege: Des Herrn Guy Miege Geist- und Weltlicher Staat von Groß-Britannien und Irrland nach der gegenwärtigen Zeit, 1718, page 361.
Guy Miege: Des Herrn Guy Miege Geist- und Weltlicher Staat von Groß-Britannien und Irrland nach der gegenwärtigen Zeit, 1718, page 361. [20-361]

In 1718, the following is written about England: “They also make a good apple wine and the English punch, which consists of French brandy, water, sugar and lemon juice, along with many other strong and tasty liquors.[20-361]

– „Man machet auch einen guten Aepffel-Wein und den Englischen Puntsch, welcher aus Frantz-Brandewein, Wasser, Zucker und Limonien-Safft bestehet, nebst vielen andern starcken und wohlschmackigten liquoribus.[20-361]

Franz Ernst Brückmann: Catalogvs exhibens appellationes et denominationes omnivm potvs generum, 1722, page 87.
Franz Ernst Brückmann: Catalogvs exhibens appellationes et denominationes omnivm potvs generum, 1722, page 87. [18-87]

In 1722 Franz Ernst Brückmann writes that Palopuntz, Puncq, Punch or Puntsch is a drink of the sailors and is prepared with brandy, water, sugar and lemon juice. He refers to his entry for Palopuntz, in which he adds that rose water can be used instead of ordinary water, and that the Indians use arrack instead of brandy.[18-87] [18-75]

Franz Ernst Brückmann: Catalogvs exhibens appellationes et denominationes omnivm potvs generum, 1722, page 75.
Franz Ernst Brückmann: Catalogvs exhibens appellationes et denominationes omnivm potvs generum, 1722, page 75. [18-75]

– “PUNCQ, PUNCH, PUNTSCH, est potus gentis nauticae fortis & vinosus, multarum virium, magnae efficaciae, valde inebrians, paratus ex spiritu vini, aqua, saccharo & mali citrei succo. vid. Palopuntz[18-87] and “PALOPVNTZ vel PALOPVNZIA, est potus nauticus generosus es succo Limonum sylvestrium, spiritu vini, saccharo & aqua vel simlici vel rosacea, vel alia destillata paratus, vulgo PUNCH & PUNCQ. Indi, loco spiritus ini, suam Uraquam substituunt.[18-75]

John Nott: The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary, 1723, #266.
John Nott: The Cook’s and Confectioner’s Dictionary, 1723, #266. [27-#266]
A 1723 cookbook instructs: “To make Punch-Royal. TAKE three Pints of the best Brandy, as much Spring-water, a Pint or better of the best Lime-juice, a Pound of double refin’d Sugar. This Punch is better than weaker Punch, for it does not so easily afect the head, by reason of the large Quantity of Lime-juice more than common, and it is more grateful and comfortable to the Stomach.[27-#266]

Nicholas Robinson: A new theory of physick and disieases. 1725, page 216.
Nicholas Robinson: A new theory of physick and disieases. 1725, page 216. [23-216]
In 1725, Nicholas Robinson wrote: “Punch is the last Liquor I shall take notice of. The Ingredients are Brandy, Rack, or Rum, Water warm or cold, Lemon-juice, Sugar, and sometimes a little Milk is added, which denotes it Milk-Punch. And, indeed, this is a Liquor not only very pleasant, but little differing in its Effects from Wine;” [23-216]

Ephraim Chambers: Cyclopaedia, 1728, page 910.
Ephraim Chambers: Cyclopaedia, 1728, page 910.[30-910]
In 1728, Ephraim Chambers writes in his Cyclopaedia: “PUNCH, is also a sort of compound Drink, frequent in England, and particularly about the Maritime Parts thereof; tho’ little known elsewhere. See DRINK. Its basis is Spring-Water, which being rener’d cooler, brisker, and more acid with Lemon-Juice, and sweeten’d again to the Palate with fine Sugar, makes what they call Sherbet; to which a proper Quantity of a spirituous Liquor, as Brandy, Rum, or Arrac being super-added; the Liquor commences Punch. Several Authors condemn the Use of Punch as a prejudicial to the Brain, and nervous System. – Dr. Cheyne insists that there is but one wholesome Ingredient in it, which some now begin to leave out, viz. the mere Element. See WATER, BRANDY, RUM, ARRAC, SUGAR &c. The proportions of the Ingredients are various; usually the Brandy and Water are in equal Quantities. Some, instead of Lemon-Juice, use Lime-Juice, which makes what they call Punch Royal; found less liable to affect the Head, as well as more grateful to the Stomach.” [30-910]

George Cheyne: An essay of health and long life. 1724, page 56, 57, 59.
George Cheyne: An essay of health and long life. 1724, page 56, 57, 59. [5-56] [5-57] [5-59]
The attentive reader will have sat up and taken notice. Why, according to Dr George Cheyne, should only water be healthy and not lemon juice as well? The answer to this question becomes simple when one reads his treatise: “The other principal Part of the Composition is the Juice of Oranges and Lemons. And if we consider, that a Lemon or Orange could never be transported half Seas over to us, without rotting or spoiling, if gathered when wholly ripe, we should have no great Opinion of their Juices. Every Spanish or Portugal Merchant can inform us, that they must be gathered green, or at least a Month before they are ripe, else they are not fit to be sent beyond the Seas. The Sea-Air, and their being shut up close, gives them that golden yellow Colour, we so much amire. […] The two remaining Ingredients, are Sugar and Water; and these I will give up to the Punch-Drinkers, and allow them all the Benefit of them”. [5-56] [5-57] [5-59]

I. D. Kohl: Epistola itineraria LII. de mumia brvnsvicensivm, 1736, page 24.
I. D. Kohl: Epistola itineraria LII. de mumia brvnsvicensivm, 1736, page 24. [22-24]
In 1736, I. D. Kohl writes in a footnote: “Punch, Puncq, Puntsch, is a strong drink of the skippers / similar to a wine is prepared from brandy / water / lemon juice and sugar.” [22-24]

– “Punch, Puncq, Puntsch, ist ein starckes Geträncke der Schiffer / einem Wein ähnlich wird aus Brantwein / Wasser / Citronen-Safft und Zucker bereitet.” [22-24]

A book about the North American colonies published in 1737 reports: “Finally, there is some excellent beer from England, among which is beer as strong as the strongest wine. One also makes a very good, pleasant and healthy drink, which is called punch, which is made in the following way, namely, one takes two or three bottles of water, depending on whether one wants the drink to be strong or weak, a small bottle or bottle of brandy, the juice of 6 or 12 lemons, which one passes through a clean cloth or linen cloth, more or less a pound of sugar, according to how sweet one wants it to be, all this is mixed together, finally a little nutmeg is added to it, after which one has a very pleasant potion.” [31-198]

Anonymus: Neu-gefundenes Eden, 1737, page 198.
Anonymus: Neu-gefundenes Eden, 1737, page 198. [31-198]

– “Endlichen hat man alerhand fürtreffliches Bier aus Engelland / darunter so starckes / als der stärckste Wein. Man macht auch ein gar gutes / angenehmes und gesundes Tranck / welches man Punch nennet / das auf folgende Weise gemacht wird / nemlich man nimmt zwey oder drey Bouteille Wasser / nachdem man das Tranck starck oder schwach haben will / eine Fläschen oder Bouteille Brandtenwein / den Safft von 6 oder 12 Zitronen / welchen man durch ein sauberes Tuch oder Leinwath macht paßieren / ein Pfund minder oder mehr Zucker / nach dem man es süß haben will / dises alles mischet man under einander / endlichen wird noch ein wenig Mußcatnuß darauf geschabet / wornach man ein gar angenehmes Tranck hat.[31-198]

The Monthly Review. London, 1756, page 626.
The Monthly Review. London, 1756, page 626. [37-626]

We have now looked at the first one hundred years of punch. In this time frame, punch became more and more popular and found its way from seafaring into society. This is also evidenced by an article from 1756, which states: “Punch has, of late years, grown so customary a liquor, that there are very few unacquainted with either the composition or the qualities of the several ingredients.[37-626]

What is a punch?

Before we start with a general analysis, let’s take another look at the first four punch recipes. They are each special and different from each other in their own way, and it is worth taking a look.

The Punch in Particular

Johann Albrecht von Mandelsloh

Johann Albrecht von Mandelsloh.
Johann Albrecht von Mandelsloh. [3]

In 1638, Albrecht Mandelsloh reported, “Palepuntz …, a kind of drink consisting of aquavitae, rose water, lemon juice and sugar.” [7-18]

What is extremely remarkable about this recipe is the addition of rose water. It seems puzzling to the uninitiated what this is doing in it. But with the explanations given in the previous chapters, it becomes clear that the punch he refers to is nothing but an alcoholic traditional Indian lemonade. Such a lemonade was also prepared in India with rose water.

The opinion is expressed that the ingredient ‘rose water’ in the report of Johann Albrecht von Mandelsloh is incorrect. This is justified by the fact that the letters H and K are very similar in Fraktur script. They refer to a Dutch edition and note that this was misread and that the incorrect translation as ‘rose water’ crept into the English and German translations. [49] However, this is easily refuted. For one thing, the Germans were of course quite capable of reading Fraktur script correctly, but for another, the title page of the Dutch edition of 1658 says: “Uit et Hoogh in’t Nederduits vertaalt”, [50] i.e. “Translated from High German into Low German.” So this edition was translated from German, and the German original from 1638 clearly says: ‘Rosenwasser’, rose water.

Jürgen Andresen

In 1644 Jürgen Andresen observed: For “Palipuntz … One takes half brandy / half water / grated nutmeg / cannel powder / sugar / Chinese small lemons stirred together“. [24-10]

What we find interesting about this is that it is apparently not so established that you can only use citrus juice in a punch. Obviously, the whole fruit can be used.

Another difference to the information given by Johann Albrecht von Mandelsloh is the use of spices. We had already explained that the punch goes back to traditional Indian lemonades. These are and always have been prepared with spices. Therefore, we postulate that originally spices belonged in a punch. If we look at the recipes that have been handed down, which we will evaluate statistically in the following, we see that punch was sometimes prepared with spices, sometimes without. The absence of spices may be explained by the fact that spices were expensive, especially far away from India. In a way, they were the gold of the 17th century, and wars were fought over them to secure a monopoly on them. For example, nutmeg could be sold in Europe for sixty thousand times its purchase price at its place of origin. [2] Therefore, when punch spread from the London docks to English society in the mid-17th century, [2] we should not be surprised if the spices were also left out.

Richard Ligon

In 1647 Richard Ligon prepares punch in a different way,  “it is made of water & sugar put together, which in tenne dayes standing will be very strong“. [25-32]

This description suggests that it was by no means always clear to the English what was meant by a punch. In Barbados, it simply meant fermented sugar water. This may indicate that punch is not an English invention – for then every Englishman would certainly have known exactly what it was – but a drink adopted from India, which gained a certain popularity at the time, and it was not yet quite clear what it was.

François La Boullaye-Le-Gouz

 

François Le Gouz de La Boullaye.
François Le Gouz de La Boullaye. [1]

In 1653, François La Boullaye-Le-Gouz explains: „Bolleponge …,  made of sugar, lemon juice, brandy, mace and toasted biscuits.[6-516]

Why did François La Boullaye-Le-Gouz write in 1653 that punch was served with a “biscuit rosty“, [6-516] and why did toasted biscuits float in Admiral Russell’s punch fountain? First of all, what might these even be? It will probably be some kind of rusj or biscuit, and thinking of the naval environment, perhaps something like ship’s biscuit.

Anonymus: The London and country brewer, 1737, page 55-56.
Anonymus: The London and country brewer, 1737, page 55-56. [32-55] [32-56]

Interesting for clarifying the question of what purpose this toasted bread had is a book from 1737 that deals with brewing beer. The author describes in connection with the use of wheat in brewing: “Others there are, that will hang a Bag of Wheat in the Vessel, that it may not touch the Bottom; but, in both Cases, the Wheat is discovered to absorb and collect the saline acid Qualities of the Beer, Yeast, and Hop, by which it is impregnated with their sharp Qualities; as a Toast of Bread is put into Punch or Beer, whose alcalous hollow Nature will attract and make a Lodgment of the acid strong Particles in either, as is proved by eating the inebriating Toast; and therefore the Frenchman says, the English are right in putting a Toast into the Liquor, but are Fools for eating it.” [32-55] [32-56]

This description confirms that the addition of a toasted bread to punch or beer was not so rare, but rather something typically English.

What exactly one must imagine by such a biscuit, perhaps enlightens the Dictionaire Oeconomique of Noel Chomel in the translated and expanded version, which was published in London in 1725. In it, first of all, there is a general description of how to prepare ‘ biskets’. It is a pancake-like dough, consisting of eggs, sugar and flour, which one bakes in an oven. However, one also goes into the English way of baking biscuits, which is said to be the best. For this, one prepares a dough from flour, eggs, yeast, cream, water and anise seeds, which is formed into a loaf and baked. After a day or two, it is cut into toast-like slices, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and then dried in a warm oven. You can also do the sugaring and drying two or three times. [34]

Dictionaire oeconomique or, The Family Dictionary. Volume 1. London, 1725.
Dictionaire oeconomique or, The Family Dictionary. Volume 1. London, 1725. [34]

– »Bisket, a sort of dainty Preparation well known, and made several ways. To make the Common Biskets, take eight Eggs and break ’em into some Vessel, and beat ’em in the same manner as you would do for Pancakes, put to ’em a Pound of Sugar pulveriz’d, and some Flower soon after; take care to temper the whole until the Paste becomes very white, and that there be nothing like a Lump therein; pour this paste into Moulds made of Tin, and of an oblong Square, with rais’d Edges to contain the Paste, put ’em into the Oven after you have strew’d Sugar upon ’em: they must be put at a distance from the live Coals for fear of burning them. They require no more time than a quarter of an Hour of baking, and assuming a fine Colour; when tehy are taken out of the Oven, they glaze them with some Sugar reduced into Powder, which they strew over them, and so take them out of their Moulds while they are yet hot; the Oven must be left open while they are baking, and the heat should be moderate. Our English way for Common Biskets, and said to be the best, ist to take half a Peck of Flower, four Eggs, half a Pint of Yeast, and an Ounce and a half of Aniseeds, which make into a Loaf with sweet Cream and cold Water; this you are to fashion somewhat long, and when baked and a day or two cold, cut it into thin Slices like Toasts, and strew ’em over with powder’d Sugar; then dry ’em in a warm Stove or Oven, and when dry, sugar ’em again, and doing so two or three times, put ’em up for Use.« [34]

The Oxford Companion writes that similar recipes can be found from the 16th to the 20th century. What they have in common is that the dough is flavored, for example with citrus peel, anise or rose water, and baked twice like a rusk. These types of biscuits exchanged flavors with the punch and finally resulted in a dessert resembling a rum cake. [35-82] 

If you look more closely at the French edition from 1761, you will also find this indication: “Biscuit. It is also a hard, firm and very long-lasting bread, baked in the seafaring places for the crews of the ships. It has the shape of small, round, flat cakes, half a finger or a finger thick. That of Martinique is very white and one of the best.[36-306]

Dictionaire oeconomique. Tome premier, page 306. Paris 1767.
Dictionaire oeconomique. Tome premier, page 306. Paris 1767. [36-306]

– “Biscuit. C’est aussi un Pain dur, ferme, & qui se conserve très-long-tems qu’on fait dans les places Maritimes pour les équipages des vaisseaux. Il est en forme de petits gâteaux ronds, plats, & épais d’un demi-doigt ou d’un doigt. Celui de la Martinique est très-blanc & un des meilleurs.[36-306]

So, as can be seen, we will not be entirely wrong in considering punch biscuits as a kind of rusk, whether flavored and sweetened or not.

Numerous other authors confirm that toasted biscuits are used to make a punch. Some of them are quoted here, and occasionally commented on.

In 1691, Simon de la Loubère, the King’s Envoy Extraordinary to the King of Siam in 1687 and 1688, published this description: “The English, accustomed to Siam, use a drink which they call Punch, and which the Indian consider to be very delicious. They put a chopine of brandy or arrack on a pint of lemonade with nutmeg and some toasted and crushed sea biscuit, and beat it all together until the liquids are well mixed.” [38-66] [38-67]

[Simon] de la Loubere: Du royaume de Siam. Tome premier. 1691, page 66-67.
[Simon] de la Loubere: Du royaume de Siam. Tome premier. 1691, page 66-67. [38-66] [38-67]

“Les Anglois habituez à Siam usent d’une boisson qu’ils appelent Punch, & que les Indiens trouvent fort délicieuse. On met une chopine d’eau de vie ou d’Arak, sur une pinte de lemonade avec de la muscade & un peu de biscuit de mer grille & pilé, & l’on bat de tout ensemble jusqu’à ce que les liqueurs soient bien mêlées.[38-66] [38-67]

Jean-Baptiste Labat, in his book ‘Nouveau voyage aux îles de l’Amérique’, ‘New Voyage to the Islands of America’, published in 1724, reports in the first volume on the beverage inventions of the English: “The first is called Sang-gris and consists of Madeira wine, which is put into a bowl of crystal or faience with sugar, lemon juice, a little cinnamon and clove powder, plenty of nutmeg and a toasted or even somewhat burnt crust of bread. When you think the spirit has taken on the flavour of the things you put in, you pass it through a fine cloth.[39-135] [39-136]

Anonymus (Jean Baptiste Labat): Nouveau voyage aux isles de l'Amerique. 1724, page 135-136.
Anonymus (Jean Baptiste Labat): Nouveau voyage aux isles de l’Amerique. 1724, page 135-136. [39-135] [39-136]

– “La premiere s’appelle Sang-gris; elle est composée de vin de Madere que l’on met dans une jatte de cristal ou de fayance avec du sucre, du jus de citron, un peu de canelle & de gerofle enpoudre, beaucoup de muscade & une croute de pain rotie, & même un peu brûlée. Lorsqu’on juge que a liqueur a pris le goût des choses qu’on y a mises, on la passe par un linge fin.[39-135] [39-136]

This is an extraordinarily valuable reference. Firstly, it brings to our attention that a sangaree, called sang-gris by Jean-Baptiste Labat, which is nothing other than a kind of wine punch, was also prepared with toasted biscuits. It is important to note that everything should be strained through a fine cloth. Doesn’t this suggest that it was added solely to soak up harmful substances, as we have shown in connection with brewing beer?

Anonymus: Dictionnaire universel de commerce. 1742, 3. volume, column 681.
Anonymus: Dictionnaire universel de commerce. 1742, 3. volume, column 681. [40-681]

Other publications in the following years also describe adding biscuits when preparing a sangaree. However, they all seem to go back to Jean-Baptiste Labat’s original specifications. We discussed this in detail in the article on the sangaree. In 1742, one uses “une croute de pain rotie & même un peu brûlée” – “a toasted & even a little burnt crust of bread“, and “When the liqueur has taken on the flavour of the ingredients which have been added to it, it is strained through a fine cloth.” – “Quand la liqueur a pris le goût des ingrédiens qu’on y a mêlés, on la passe dans un linge fin.[40-681] This is confirmed by other sources referring to this work. [41-63] [41-64] [42-2006] [42-2007]

This is also the view of Denis Diderot in 1765 [43-617] and Johann Georg Krünitzen’s Encyclopaedia in 1824. [44-386]

Anonymus: Dictionnaire universel de commerce. 1742, 3. volume, column 681.
Anonymus: Dictionnaire universel de commerce. 1742, 3. volume, column 681. [45-162]

However, these references always refer to sangaree, the wine punch. But ordinary punch was also prepared in this way. Israel Acrelius writes about Punch in 1759 [46] in his ‘History of New Sweden’: »manchmal wird eine Scheibe Brot getoastet und warm hineingelegt, um die Kälte im Winter zu mildern«. [45-162]

The punch in general

But now we come to the main topic of this part. What do we mean by a punch? To be able to answer this question, we have to take a statistical look at what has been handed down. First of all, the term does not always seem to have been clearly defined, otherwise Richard Ligon in Barbados would not have understood it to mean a fermented mixture of water and sugar. But this is an isolated case, which we should remember, but which is not decisive for the overall result and which we should exclude in the analysis.

For the analysis, we divide the first one hundred years into two sections, the first ranging from 1638 to 1699, the second from 1700 to 1737.

Brandy, citrus fruit and sugar

Punch 1638-1737 - Formulas.
Punch 1638-1737 – Formulas.

If we leave Richard Ligon’s information aside for a moment, all recipes call for a brandy. They also call for a citrus fruit, although it may be left open which variety of lemon or lime was meant, because whatever was available was used anyway. Only one recipe also uses orange. The question of whether only the juice or the whole fruit was used, perhaps even prepared together with sugar as a sherbet, is a question that should not be answered here, and probably cannot be answered either, because initially this question simply did not arise during preparation, but only emerged over time as the punch recipe was perfected. All but one recipe also calls for the use of sugar.

The dilution

Punch 1638-1737 - Dilution.
Punch 1638-1737 – Dilution.

The dilution is more interesting, especially in the early phase it is not always mentioned. Presumably it was taken for granted and that is why the water was not mentioned. This is also supported by the fact that we know that Punch developed from lemonade. If we assume this to be the case, we can see that the alcohol content of the brandy was always reduced. As an alternative to water, however, rose water and even red wine were used. Punch was drunk hot or cold, whereby cold here does not mean that it was stirred on ice, because this was not available on the ships or in India. This fashion came later.

The spice

Punch 1638-1737 - Simplified formulas.
Punch 1638-1737 – Simplified formulas.

It is commonly said that spice is the fifth ingredient of the punch. In fact, spice was not mentioned in the majority of cases. Nutmeg was mainly mentioned as a spice, but cinnamon was also mentioned. Even ginger was an alternative. The reason for this – as already explained – was probably the poorer availability of the same or their costliness.

Summary

To summarise, it can be said that there were different types of punch. On the one hand, they were spiced or not, on the other hand, water or occasionally rose water or wine was used to dilute them.

On the one hand, there was what we call a spiced punch, a combination of brandy, water, citrus, sugar and spices, and on the other hand, the unseasoned version, the plain punch. Punch was drunk both cold and hot.

Sources
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  8. https://archive.org/details/historyoflaterev34bern/page/154/mode/2up?q=bouleponges Anonymus: A constitution of the historie of Monsieur Bernier, concerning the empire of the great Mogol. Particularly a relation of the vojage made A. 1664 by the great Mogol Aurenge Zebe, marching with his Army from Debly to Lahor, from Lahor to Bember, and from Bember to the Kingdom of Kachemire, by the Mogols called the Paradise of the Indies. Tome IV. London, 1676.
  9. https://archive.org/details/anewaccounteast00whitgoog/page/n193/mode/2up?q=paunch John Fryer: A new naccount of East-India and Persia in eight letters being nine years travels, begun 1672. And finished 1681. London, n1698.
  10. https://archive.org/details/vinetumbritanni00worl/page/n37/mode/2up?q=punch J. Worlidge: Vinetum Britannicum: or a Treatise of Cider, and other Wines and Drinks extracted from Fruits Growing in this Kingdom. With the Method of Propagating all sorts of Vinous Fruit-Trees. And a Description of the New-Invented Ingenio or Mill, For the more expeditious making of Cider. And also the right way of making Metheglin and Birch-Wine. The Second Impression, much Enlarged. London, 1678.
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  14. https://archive.org/details/PharmacopoeiaBateanaOrBatesDispensatory/page/n779/mode/2up?q=punch William Salmon: Pharmacopoeia Bateana: or Bate’s Dispensatory. Translated from the Second Edition of the Latin Copy, Published by Mr. James Shipton. London, 1694.
  15. https://archive.org/details/b30454414_0001/page/n49/mode/2up?q=punch Hans Sloane: A voyage to the islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica, with the natural history of the herbs and trees, four-footed beasts, fishes, birds, insects, reptiles, &c. of the last of those islands; to which is prefix’d an introduction, wherein is an account of the inhabitants, air, waters, diseases, trade, &c of that place, with some relations concerning the neighbouring continent, and islands of America. Illustrated with figures of the things described, which have not been heretofore engraved; in large copper-plates as big as the life. Vol. I. London, 1707.
  16. https://archive.org/details/britishempireina04oldm/page/114/mode/2up?q=punch Anonymus (John Oldmixon): The British empire in America, containing the history of the discovery, settlement, progress and present state of all the British colonies, on the continent and islands of America. The second volume. Being an account of the country, soil, climate, product and trade of Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincents, Dominico, Antego, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Christophers, Barbuda, Anguilla, Jamaica, the Bahama and Bermudas Islands. With curious maps of the several places done from the newest surveys. London, 1708.
  17. https://books.google.de/books?id=NXZYAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA153&dq=%22which+is+a+Liquor+every%22&hl=de&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjAwLzyzd7rAhWB66QKHeERD3IQ6AEwAXoECAAQAg#v=onepage&q=%22which%20is%20a%20Liquor%20every%22&f=false Anonymus: The political state for the month of August 1724. London, August 31st. 1724.
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  19. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=ucm.532027836x&view=1up&seq=373&q1=palopunzia Henr. Mundii (Henry Mundy): Henr. Mundii medic. doct. Londinens. Opera omnia medico-physica, Tractatibus tribus comprehensa: de aere vitali, de esculentis, de potulentis. Una cun appendice de Parergis in Victu ut Chocolata, Coffe, Thea, Tabaco &c. 1685.
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  40. https://archive.org/details/b30450470_0004/page/n349/mode/2up?q=sanggris Anonymus: Dictionnaire universel de commerce: contenant tout ce qui concerne le commerce qui se fait dans les quatre parties du monde, par terre, par mer, de proche en proche, & par voyages de long long cours, tant en gros qu’en detail. Tome troisieme, P-Z. Geneve, 1742.
  41. https://www.google.de/books/edition/_/_TdibB0NbyYC?hl=de&gbpv=1 Anonymus: Allgemeine Schatz-Kammer der Kauffmannschafft oder Vollständiges Lexicon aller Handlungen und Gewerbe. Vierdter Theil S-Z. Leipzig, 1741.
  42. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_Y18hAQAAMAAJ/page/n1025/mode/2up?q=sanggris Johann Heinrich Zedler: Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexikon Aller Wissenschaften und Künste, Welche bishero durch menschlichen Verstand und Witz erfunden und verbessert worden. Drey und Dreyßigster Band S-San. Leipzig und Halle, 1742.
  43. https://archive.org/details/gri_33125011156268/page/616/mode/2up?q=%22sang-gris%22 Anonymus (Denis Diderot & Jean Le Rond d’Alembert): Encyclopédie, ou, dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Tome quatorzieme, REGGI-SEM. Neufchastel, 1765.
  44. https://books.google.de/books?id=s5kUAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=de&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=sanggris&f=false Johann Georg Krünitz: Ökonomisch-technologische Encyclopädie, oder allgemeines System der Staats-, Stadt-, Haus- und Landwirthschaft, wie auch der Erdbeschreibung, Kunst- und Naturgeschichte, in alphabetischer Ordnung. Früher fortgesetzt von Friedrich Jakob und Heinrich Gustav Floerke, und jetzt von Johann Wilhelm David Korth, Doctor der Philosophie. Hundert und sechs und dreißigster Theil. Berlin, 1824.
  45. https://archive.org/details/historyofnewswed00acre/page/162/mode/2up/search/punch Israel Acrelius: A history of New Sweden; or, the settlements on the river Delaware. Philadelphia, 1874.
  46. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Acrelius Israel Acrelius.
  47. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_5ewpAAAAYAAJ/page/172/mode/2up?q=ponze Christoph Langhanß: Neue Ost Indische Reise. Leipzig, 1705.
  48. https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz48114.html Langhanß, Christoph..
  49. http://pattheplants.blogspot.com/2019/03/punch-east-india-trade-pirates-and-dash.html Pattock: Punch, the East India Trade, Pirates and a dash more Lime Juice. 28. März 2019.
  50. https://archive.org/details/beschryvinghvand00mand/page/24/mode/2up Beschryvingh van de gedenkwaerdige Zee- en Landt-Reyse, Deut persien naar Oost-Indien, Gedaan van den wel-Ed. Johan Albrecht van Mandelsloh. Door Adam Olearius. Amsterdam, 1658.
  51. https://archive.org/details/gri_33125008243368/page/n607/mode/2up?q=follepons Anonymus: Joan Nieuhofs zee en lantreize, door verscheide gewesten von Oostindien, behelzende veele zeltzaame en wonderlijke voorvallen en geschiedenissen. Beneffens een beschrijving van lantschappen, steden, dieren, gewassen, draghten, zeden en godsdienst der inwoonders; en inzonderheit een wijtloopig verhael der stad Batavia. Amsterdam, 1682.
  52. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Nieuhof Joan Nieuhof.
  53. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/St%C3%BCber Stüber.

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About

Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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