Fish House Punch

Katie Maxwell, Visitor Services Coordinator

Once again, it is too hot outside to do anything remotely like cooking, so instead I will be attempting Fish House Punch. It looks like boozy lemonade, perfect for summer. You can find this 1873 recipe on page 61 of 35 Receipts from “The Larder Invaded” by William Woys Weaver.

First, the ingredients:

1 cup fresh lemon juice pressed from lemons with the rinds removed
1 cup cognac of the best quality* (Salignac V.S. will do)
1 cup light rum
1 ¾ lb. superfine sugar (essential)
4 ½ cups spring water or bottled water (NEVER, NEVER use Philadelphia tap water)**

Fish House Punch Ingredients

*Or if you are me, 1 cup of the cheapest cognac at the store.
**I’m not sure what Dr. Weaver has against Philadelphia water. I’m sure my filtered tap water will be just fine.

Dissolve the sugar in two cups of spring water.

Dissolving sugar in water for fish house punch

Stir until Clear.

This is why you need to use superfine/caster sugar. Regular granulated sugar just won’t dissolve as well. However, if you can’t find any superfine sugar, you can still use granulated sugar to make a simple syrup. Just combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil on the stove.

Strain the lemon juice and add it to the water;

Adding strained lemon to the sugar water mixture

I’m not sure why you would have to remove the rinds in order to press out the juice. I just used a lemon squeezer.

Then add the cognac and rum.

Adding cognac and rum to the fish house punch

Add the rest of the water, using as much of the remaining 2 ½ cups, or as little as taste demands.

Adding water, to taste

Less water is necessary if the punch is served over crushed ice; more if served over ice cubes.

Having tasted the punch, it definitely needs the full amount of water. Any less and your teeth will melt.

Fish house punch, served

Fish House Punch is good but still too sweet for my taste. (I usually drink my alcohol in beer form.) Topping it off with a little cub soda does the trick though. I recommend doing a little experimentation when you try this recipe at home, and filtered Philadelphia tap water will be fine.