Every week, we tackle the weirdest recipe we can find in Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide. Turns out they did things differently back then.
We were drawn to this week’s subject, the Non-Such Punch, by its unusual month-long aging time. We couldn’t fathom what a month in glass would do to this Sangria variant, but we were ready to learn. In typical 19th century usage, “non-such” refers to something unique or one-of-a-kind. “One-of-a-kind,” of course, is not synonymous with “good.”
The recipe for Non-Such Punch is similar to Claret Cup Punch, an archaic English Sangria variant that adds sherry and has its fruit strained out before serving.
While Brother Thomas often provides florid descriptions of preparation styles and service suggestions, his instructions for Non-Such punch are strikingly minimalist. Most of it, in fact, is summed up in a single word, “take,” along with the ingredient list. As in...
Take 6 bottles of claret, 6 bottles of soda-water, 1 bottle of brandy, 1 bottle of sherry, ½ pint of green tea, juice of three lemons, ½ of a pineapple cut up in small pieces.We took “take” in this instance to mean “mix together in a large receptacle. The rest of the recipe is short and sweet...
Sweeten with white sugar to taste. Strain and bottle immediately. Keep for one month before using. Ice before serving.
Simple enough. Claret is a general term for Bordeaux wine. Soda water is readily obtainable. For brandy we used Pierre Ferrand Grand Cru Cognac. We went with Lustau Amontillado “Los Arcos’ Extra Dry Reserve for our sherry, hoping its bright, honeyed acidic notes would cut what we guessed would be a very sweet punch.