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
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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