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34th Regiment of Foot Punch Recipe from the 1850s

SOLDIERS LOVED TO DRINK IN THE 19TH CENTURY.  Idle hours brought about new drinking inventions.  One was this punch created by the 32nd Regiment of Foot.  It was also called the Victoria punch.  

The historic recipe, which serves twenty, is as follows:

6 lemons in slices
1/2 gallon of brandy
1/2 gallon of Jamaica rum
1 lb of white sugar
1 3/4 quart of water
1 pint of boiling milk

Steep the lemons for 24 hours in the brandy and rum; add the sugar, water and milk, and when well mixed, strain through a jelly bag [modern cheese cloth works to strain milk curdles and lemon pieces]
This punch may be bottled, and used afterward hot or cold.
Half the above quantity, or even less, may be made, as this recipe is for a party of twenty.

An 1858 poem called the "A Recipe for Punch" dovetails well with the above recipe:

"A little sugar to make it sweet,
 A little lemon to make it sour,
 A little water to make it weak,
 And a little brandy to give it power!"


As an historical context, while this drink recipe is generally believed to have been recorded sometime in the 1850s, it is likely the concoction was invented between 1830 and 1848.  From 1830 to 1841, the 32nd Regiment of Foot served in North America fighting in the Canadian Rebellions of 1837-38.  After that, the Regiment was stationed in the British Isles.  Orders came in 1848 for the regiment to transfer to India and would stay there until 1879.  The "Victoria Punch" name may suggest it was invented when Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837.


 Author Robert Henderson enjoys unearthing and telling stories of military valour, heritage, and sacrifice from across the globe. Lest we forget.


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