On the first day, because it’s related to A Christmas Carol by author, which everyone knows is one of the classic tales of the Christmas season, we give you a recipe for one of Charles Dickens’ punches. That’s punch as in big bowl of alcoholic drink, not as in a fist to the face. I love punches, because they’re communal, social drinks. And drinking a hot punch during cold weather is one of my favorite things.
I have tried this recipe once or twice, and I couldn’t seem to get the lighting-it-on-fire to remove enough of the alcohol, so I have ended up just simmering it, like you would do when mulling wine or cider. The following is a mix of Dickens’ own recipe and what I remember from the last few times I tried it.
Mr. Micawber’s Punch (Adapted)
- 1 cup demerara (brown) sugar
- 16 oz rum (I think I used dark)
- 10 oz cognac
- Rinds of 3 lemons, peeled with as little pith as possible
- Juice of same 3 lemons
- Quart of boiling water
- Muddle the sugar and the lemon peel in a fire-proof pot or bowl.
- Let sit for an hour or two so the sugar extracts some of the lemon oil from the peels.
- Add the rum and the brandy.
- Set the mixture on fire by filling a warm spoon (again, fire-proof, please! Not wood or plastic) with the spirit, lighting what’s in the spoon on fire, and pouring it gently into the bowl. (Sometimes I find it helps to heat the bowl on a low heat on the stove for a few minutes).
- Let it burn for three or four minutes.
- Cover the bowl or pot with a tray to smother the fires.
- Squeeze in the juice of the three lemons.
- Pour in the water.
- Stir, then cover it for five more minutes and stir it again.
- Keep warm on a low heat on the stove.
- Drink, and be merry!
It’s delicious, sweet and citrusy and not as strongly spiced as mulled wine, for those who aren’t fans of clovey, cinnamony drinks. A perfect drink for the cold winter season, and great for holiday gatherings.
Enjoy! And do share pictures and or stories if you try it!