Ricetta Spicy Autumn Punch

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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  • Why is it called punch
  • Punch recipe

In American college movies we often see this vat full of alcohol that everyone draws to fill their glasses. A loan from England that has remained in the American tradition.

Punch is a drink sweetened with spices and fruit that can be considered the first cocktail in history. In fact, even the ancient Egyptians and Romans used to prepare alcoholic beverages in the same way: they flavored their beers with dates, honey, citrus fruits and even myrrh, or even with herbs, spices and roots. 

Why is it called punch

This brightly colored drink first appeared in 1632 in a letter written by a soldier of the East India Company to a merchant. It is believed that the term punch derives from various linguistic forms that refer to the number 5 (for example the Persian word panj), as there are five basic ingredients used to prepare this drink: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spices. Another origin of the word that indicates this drink can be traced to the English puncheon, a term used by sailors to indicate the quantity of liquid contained in wooden barrels.

College parties never lack punch, the ancestor of cocktails

The birth of punch dates back to 1600, with the foundation of the "British East India Company", which allowed the exchange of culture and goods with distant countries such as Asia and India, guaranteeing the knowledge of innovative ingredients and recipes .

Punch gains popularity with the clearance of the use of rum among the wealthiest English social classes, as in the eighteenth century it was very difficult to have citrus fruits or spices at one's disposal; an alternative of this kind had already been discovered by privateers and pirates, not for lack of fruits or spices, but because of the few supplies of clean water available, replaced, therefore, by the "guildive" or "tafia" (ancestor of rum ) which they stowed in abundance in ships.

A Spanish cousin: the punch alla livornese

There is also a Spanish version of the punch, that is, the so-called punch alla livornese, consisting of rum, cognac, lemon zest and sugar and is served boiling in small glass cups; the bar where it originated is the “Bar Civili”, a welcoming environment that was a meeting place for the painters of the Macchiaioli movement in the 800th century.

You say party, you say Punch, in short, whether it is in Spain or in other parts of the world, in the common imagination we cannot but associate this drink with a festive atmosphere (it is no coincidence that in America it is also served during the Christmas period), heir to banquets enriched during the social events and dances of the English high society.

Punch recipe

Here is the recipe for this super spiced non-alcoholic drink:


  • 2 oranges
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 6 cups of apple juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of pineapple juice

Preparation of the punch

Prepare the oven at 175 ° C. Mix the oranges with the cloves and cook for 30 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice with the cinnamon sticks. Once brought to a boil, let it boil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from the oven, and mix in the nutmeg, honey, lemon juice and pineapple juice.

Serve hot in a punch bowl with the cloves and orange slices.


printable version punch recipe 

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