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Three 4th of July Punches

Just imagine. Philadelphia in July. The City of Brotherly Love being at roughly the same latitude as the Mediterranean summer holiday destinations and sharing their climate, it’s darn hot. And sweaty. Especially if it’s 1776 – no A.C., no showers –, and you've spent all day in the States House (soon to be renamed Independence Hall), with no easy task at hand – that is, declaring the Independence of The United States of America. You need a drink.

And if the Founding Fathers raised a toast, or two, to independence on July 4, 1776, it’s our absolute duty to honor their achievement by doing the same.

Any of these punches will rise to the occasion – they not only add the right amount of cheer to any festive gathering, but also blend in the spirits popular in those glory days. Especially if they’re home made in your whiskey still, for we now our forefathers were great home distillers.

Fish House Punch

Older than the U.S itself, it’s said to have first been concocted in 1732, in a Philly club called Schuylkill Fishing Corporation. (Recipe from David Wondrich’s Punch.)


1 1/2 cups superfine sugar

2 quarts water

1 quart lemon juice

2 quarts dark rum

1 quart cognac

4 ounces peach brandy – or, 3 ounces applejack brandy + 1 ounce peach liqueur

In a large bowl, first dissolve the sugar in enough of the water to do the trick, then add the lemon juice, the spirits and the rest of the water (can be less, to allow for meltage). Slip in a large block of ice – a mixing bowl full of water that's been frozen overnight will do the trick.

Peachy Whiskey Punch

Because whiskey, one of the great passions of our home distilling forefathers. (Remember the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791, when the newly formed government imposed a “whiskey tax”?)


750 ml bottle of whiskey

4 ½ cups of ginger beer

4 ½ cups of tonic water

A bunch of fresh mint sprigs

4-5 peaches

On the 3d of July: Slice the peaches and mash them in the punch bowl – muddler, potato masher, beer bottle, whatever will do. Pour in the bourbon, cover and refrigerate over night. This will give them time to know each other and make real good friends.

Party time: Spank the mint sprigs – yes, yes, hold them in one hand and gently clap until you smell mint. Mix thoroughly with the peaches and bourbon. Add ginger beer and tonic water, give it a slight stir, and slip in a big block of ice.

* Ice trick: if you aim for minimum dilution, freeze a couple of sliced peaches over night and use them as ice cubes.

Applejack Raspberry Punch

Applejack is considered the first true American spirit, and a George Washington favorite.


750 ml bottle of Applejack

Juice from 10 lemons

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup soda water

1 bunch of fresh mint sprigs

½ pint raspberries

Mix the freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar in the punch bowl, stirring patiently until the sugar dissolves. Slap the mint leaves and add to the bowl, the squeeze in the raspberries too. Pour in the applejack and soda water, stir.

Garnishes are optional – a slice of lemon, a mint leaf, no paper umbrellas; firecrackers are a must.

Posted by Jason Stone on

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