The Punch Bowl: 75 Recipes Spanning Four Centuries of Wanton Revelry

In a cocktail era more inclined towards three or four-ingredient, spirit-forward recipes, punch may seem like a fussy anachronism. But as D.C. Craft Bartender’s Guild co-founder Dan Searing puts it in The Punch Bowl, cocktail historicism—and the attendant revival of classic cocktails—actually paved the way for the resurgence of punch in all its gilded, celebratory glory. A brief history of punch (including its roots in maritime revelry, piracy, and early trade routes) and a guide to classic punch ingredients bring the reader up to speed on this bygone liquid status symbol. But Searing isn’t looking to pay homage to the porcelain and gold punch traditions of old. While the majority of the book’s 75 punch recipes are pre-20th century—including an ultra-simple 1655 recipe for Jamaican Punch and Jerry Thomas’s 1862 “Light Guard Punch,” a surprisingly delicate concoction meant to refresh “any small regiment (whether military or otherwise)”—Searing updates them in both serving size and instruction. Modern punches abound as well, such as the Highland Park, apple, and red beet concoction “Beetiful Apples” from StarChefs.com of PS 7’s in D.C. But whatever century you dip your mixology ladle into, The Punch Bowl is really about one thing: the craft of celebration.