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Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  257 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
An Authoritative, historically informed tribute to the punch bowl, by the James Beard Award-winning author of Imbibe!.

Replete with historical anecdotes, expert observations, notes on technique and ingredients, and of course world-class recipes, Punch will take readers on a celebratory journey into the punch bowl that starts with some very lonely British sailors and swel
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Perigee Trade
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Apr 14, 2011 Sean rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: cocktail enthusiasts, cooks, bartenders
I remember punch.

Mom and Dad's Christmas parties in my hometown of Norwell, Massachusetts. Guests would fill our colonial home, sharing the warmth of the wood burning fireplace complete with traditional bread baking hollow. Everyone dressed in their cocktail gowns and best suits while the snow blanketed the tranquil New England countryside. The punch bowl had been waiting patiently on the back porch to chill, and often freeze, a few days before the party. Various strange, unrelated fruit swam am
Mar 21, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Have you ever considered how much influence alcohol has had on history? It's not really shocking, but it's very interesting to read a history told from that perspective.

Before the cocktail there was...Punch. This book tells about the 2-3 hundred years when it was popular.

The author's writing style makes this a very enjoyable read, very witty.
There are several recipes included as well, the "olde english" original recipes are included (along with the translated current version).
Apr 05, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it
I wish I had the kind of lifestyle that I could throw a party and try out all these recipes! It did prompt me to go buy whole nutmeg and a rasp grater.

Funny and informative, this is what a book about the history of alcohol should be. I need to go back and get 'Imbibe' now.
Aug 11, 2010 David marked it as written  ·  (Review from the author)
Everything I know about Punch--except for the stuff I forgot to include, ran out of room for or learned since the manuscript closed (technical hint: if you leave your oleo-saccharum to steep for two hours, it's even better).
Murf Reeves
Jun 10, 2013 Murf Reeves rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any mixologist, cocktail, or history geek!
David Wondrich is always fun to read. Wondrich's research is thorough, but with enough humor and sarcasm to keep the reader engaged. History class would have been so much more interesting if curriculum would have been presented in this fashion. Punch fell short about 2/3 of the way through, when it became nothing more than a recipe book. I would have liked to see some more information about some of the characters who were credited with the creation of the recipes. Not sure if there wasn't a lot ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Kathy rated it liked it
An interesting read, though I lost interest halfway through. There are very good recipes in this title, but if you are just skimming the book for them, it will be a little difficult. The recipes come with a short explanation, the old recipe, and an updated prep explanation. You will not see a line-item list of quantities and materials in this book. I tried the warm whiskey punch recipe from it and it was excellent.
Feb 09, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Anyone who writes drink books for a living knows that A) you can't make a living writing drink books, and B) you can't write a better drink book than David Wondrich does. His latest is a tour-de-force of scholarship and style. And real eye-opener for me: who knew that punch had a 200 year vogue, much longer than the era of the cocktail?
Aug 24, 2011 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Punch was a huge part of colonial America. It's nice to learn more and have these recipes translated into modern ones.
Martin Doudoroff
Nov 02, 2010 Martin Doudoroff rated it it was amazing
Instant classic. Now I need to re-read it.
Jan 08, 2011 Tyger rated it really liked it
Make some punch revive something fun!

See some fairies!

Possibly a Pink Elephant?

Wear lampshade on your head and have fun!

Erin Tuzuner
Jun 16, 2011 Erin Tuzuner rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011, food
An engaging read about the history and delicacy of punch. Wondrich knows his British, and his wit is as dry as their gin.
Mar 09, 2011 Evan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, owned
The definitive (only?) book on punch. Not much else to say. Excellent.
Ben Nathan
May 07, 2017 Ben Nathan rated it really liked it
Essential reading for the literate lush. History, recipes, mixology. Fascinating stuff. I'm a big fan of books like this. If you like learning about booze (as well as learning how to make it), this is a book for you.
Dec 20, 2016 Tess rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, food
A hilarious telling of the history of Punch, where every author's aside adds to the hilarity and is well-warranted. It's like the Pepys' Diary of booze, where the goings-on are funny enough on their own but even better with commentary. This guy gets you thinking about the social and historical conditions that exist in order for a drink to become popular, a topic that's endlessly fascinating. His pro tips are frank and witty. After finishing the book yesterday afternoon, I went to one of my favor ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
A fascinating investigation into the origins of Punch. If you like the more colorful side of history and are a drinks geek then this book is for you. It's a bit hard to read this book cover to cover without getting a little bored with reading so many recipes at the end, but it's worth it to see how Punch has evolved over time. I'm itching to create one of these concoctions now for my next soiree.
Oct 05, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book that was equal parts history and recipe. I liked the history and the well researched recipes so much that I immediately began scouring ebay for vintage sets for my next party. Cheers to this book and the wonderful storytelling of David Wondrich!
Definitely the type of book worth purchasing and my favorite kind of book, where you are running to reference or research something on every page. I think it's time for punch to make a comeback. I'll be seeking out his other books.
Jan 09, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
Really fun and insightful look into the history of spirits in the English empire, but even more so than that, a hilarious romp through the party culture of the various classes in the 1600, 1700, and 1800s.
Aug 24, 2011 carla rated it really liked it
If you want to skip the recipes, the first third of the book is still worth checking out. Well-researched, well-written, and engaging, this history shows how much we don't know about the origins about something that has touched so many parts of the globe.
James Nelson
Jan 13, 2011 James Nelson rated it liked it
Wondrich is a tremendous historian and the recipes alone are worth the price - that being said, I find the writing style a bit dry compared to his contemporaries such as Jason Wilson, which makes this a bit harder of a read.
Paul Wiesler
Jan 01, 2014 Paul Wiesler rated it really liked it
A cool book that teaches you the history of punch. It reads like an informal lecture class for the first half of the book. The second half of the book is a recipe book for these punches. I have yet to try any of these out, but I am looking forward to it.
Jan 01, 2011 MJ rated it did not like it
Shelves: food
I didn't actually read this--I tried several times but it was just too boringly written. I'll copy a couple of the recipes and pass the book on to Ben.
Daniel Fell
Jan 16, 2011 Daniel Fell rated it really liked it
Greta book but not the kind you sit down and read. It's full of recipes and stories. Great to flip through from time to time.
Jun 28, 2014 Alicia rated it really liked it
Excellent and informative - the best kind of history book. A tour of several hundred years of social life, through the lens of punch.
Oct 29, 2012 Clay rated it really liked it
Wondrich writes another unique and captivating book on libations, ever bouncing around history with a raised glass.
Ben Schaffer
Nov 29, 2014 Ben Schaffer rated it it was amazing
Matt Arthur
Jan 24, 2011 Matt Arthur rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-history
Not only does this give a great history on a tricky subject but there are some fantastic recipes as well! Perfect for a foodie or that living history person in your life.
Felisa Rosa
Apr 10, 2012 Felisa Rosa rated it liked it
Aimed at a rarefied audience of pretentious booze nerds, of which I am ashamed to admit that I am descending into. Proof: I enjoyed this extremely detailed history of punch-making.
Ben rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2011
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Born on the banks of the Monongahela. Raised in major urban centers. Ex-bass player, ex-English professor, ex-ragtime writer. Mixographer. Brooklynite. Likes port and Stilton and Artemus Ward.
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“On the other side of the ledger stood the fact that fotitude was useless against it (liquor). Even the mightiest potsman, a paladin who could match tankards with a whole alehouse of swag-bellies Falstaffs and outquaff the parcel of them, would see his length measured upon the floor by less liquid than it would take to fill his hat.” 1 likes
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