Thanks to everyone who joined us for Food History Happy Hour tonight! We made a version of "Fruit Punch" from 1924, doctored with some spiced rum. We also discussed the history of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate, the use of tea in 18th century punch recipes and in the Temperance movement, the influence of coffee houses on politics and science, the gendering of these drinks, and the difference between high tea, low tea, and afternoon tea.
Old Fashioned Fruit Punch (1924)
We often think of fruit punch today as the bright red sugary concoction of questionable flavor profile. Historically, fruit punches were non-alcoholic alternatives to highly alcoholic party punches popular in the 18th century. This version was probably inspired by Philadelphia Fish House Punch, a heady mix of citrus fruit, rum, brandy, cognac, and black tea. Here's the original recipe:
1 cup sugar
1 cup very strong tea
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 pint ginger-ale
1 pint apollinaris (seltzer/club soda)
This makes about 10 glasses.
Here's the lovely alternative I made
1/2 cup sugar (this was VERY sweet, feel free to cut it to 1/4 cup)
1 cup very strong tea
juice of 2 oranges
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup ginger ale
1 cup seltzer
1/2 cup spiced rum
Stir tea and sugar together over ice, then and the other ingredients and stir to combine. Serve cold in small cups. This is very good and very smooth.
You could easily leave out the rum for a more Temperance-friendly non-alcoholic punch, or you can see other alternative punches, along with a history of Temperance, here.
Next weekend I'm going to have another tea party, but in the meantime you can review the one from last weekend! So fun.
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Sarah Wassberg Johnson has an MA in Public History from the University at Albany and studies early 20th century food history.
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