1939 The Gentleman's Companion volume II Beeing an Exotic Drinking Book


For centuries this sort of thing has been concocted in the Far East of varying materials to suit head, stomach, temperature, and heart. In England it soon trickled its way into fine society, possibly in the effort of the British East India Company to attract notice of the world to tea and other Oriental importations of the Empire. Besides all of this tradition which came to us few things in life are more kind to man's eye than the sight of a gracefully conceived punch bowl on a table proudly surrounded by gleaming cohorts of cups made of crystal or white metals, enmeshing every beam of light, and tossing it back into a thousand shattered spectra to remind us of the willing cheer within. . . . The colours too are delightful-the purple of the grape against silver or crystal, the scarlet and gold and green of fruits, the tawny ambers of other wines, the fragrant scent of sugar cane, sun-ripe grapes, apricots, grain, peaches, what not-all are a challenge to eye, nose and lip; all blended into a perfect and harmonious whole. The very amplitude of the bowl itself suggests hospitality, and an invitation to quench thirst, which no service of single small glasses can ever effect. In place of the eternal afternoon tea, a really unusual punch not only delights guests, but saves the hostess the usual maze of questions about who takes lemon, or cream, or sugar. There is no conceivable occasion which cannot be served with a good punch-whether we prefer it with or without the spirits. It takes a little imagination and ingenuity to make a visibly attrac– tive punch, but we have tried to confine ourselves to punches which not only taste well, but look well also. RULES for a DECENT PuNCH ARE FEW-but INFLEXIBLE I I. Use fresh fruits, for although canned fruits will do, as a general rule they lack the pungency, the aroma, of fresh. 2. If ~park~ing water, wine, ginger beer, or ginger ale is to be added– wait u~til the very moment of service. The whole object of a sparkling punch is to have it sparkle-and as bubbles soon escape into the atmos– phere after pouring in bowl, save that pouring until the last second. 3. Don't use small ice, except in emergencies requiring quick cooling-or

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