This article is about the elements that brought the Punch into existence, its history and the change in share-able cocktails that we may see in the Post Covid Era.
Punch. A word that makes our mouths salivate for the fresh flavours of the boozy drinks that are as varied as the colourful bowls that hold it. Punch, a word that walks us down memory lane all the way to our college parties, house parties and weddings.
Here is a brief note on the history of punch cocktails. Paanch, a word that originates from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, means ‘five,’ implying that there are 5 key ingredients that are responsible for the concoction of this beverage. While it is considered that India gave birth to the recipe, in 1632 it was the English sailors of the East India Company that used it to tame the rum that they were provided by the Carribean – another colony owned by the British.
Interested to know more about punch recipes?
It was then the Caribbean that created the rhyme by which rum punch is still celebrated today :
“One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak.”
As ingredients, this could translate to:
One-part lime juice
Two parts simple syrup
Three parts of the rum itself
Four parts of water / fruit juices and ice”
Stir them all together and top it with Angostura bitters and some nutmeg to make it a classic!
It could only get better with large artsy punch bowls, that were always considered a royal accessory to acquire. Multiple people would pour out their servings from the bowl or simply dunk and fill their glasses from a single large bowl. Rum punch recipes are loved by punch lovers from all over the globe.
However, over the years, the container styles have evolved, right from large tiki glasses, to uniquely shaped bowls that are more ‘instagrammable.’
Ingredients like Grenadine and Blue Curacao are used for colours and sweetness, and different rums like white, dark, coconut, or spiced are used based on the fruits involved. Even additional spirits like champagne, tequila, ginger ale, lemon soda etc can be added to really give it the ‘punch’.
To go with the colours, moods, and aesthetics, more than a 1000 rum punch recipes have been created by the bartenders around the globe. It is like a tropical chameleon, it can change according to the surroundings.
The most famous one today is the Hawaiian Punch which uses 7 fruit juices – apple, apricot, guava, orange, papaya, passion fruit, and pineapple.
What does the Post Covid Era hold for the shareable Punch?
The Punch Bowl, as it is also famously called, has been oscillating in and out of the limelight for centuries now. It might seem even more unlikely for a shared cocktail to stay popular now considering the distancing rules of Covid 19.
“While cocktails like LIIT and Margaritas will be served in individual glasses instead of sharing pitchers, the classic Rum Punch will still be made according to the same quantity as a bowl, like before. It will then be packed into as many use-and-throw pouches as the number of people on the table that ordered it” says Vijay Prakash, Head Mixologist and Drinks Curator of the Social’s chain. He is confident he will be able to repackage this cocktail and give it a “cool look.” There might be other creative ways, like pitchers with taps, comments Hemant Mundkur, Brand Ambassador at Bacardi. However, “The main focus will be hygiene, cleanliness and no contact service.”
It is also safe to believe that pubs are not estimated to open for some time, and even if they do, “single portioned drinks will be the main focus,” continues Hemant
Hence, house parties are the obvious trend to expect in the coming months. Since a Punch is easy to prepare, has comparatively budget friendly ingredients and can be made in bulk, in all likelihood it will steal the show, with a few tweaks in the way it is served.
We might have to say goodbye to the way of drinking it straight from the pitchers or shared bowl. There is no way to know when these can make a come back. The one thing we do know for sure is that no matter what the situation, rum punch will never completely go out of fashion. This is because one of the great themes pervading Indian life is social interdependence. Hence, as long as there will be social drinking, there will be this quick fix called Punch. So, let’s get ready to prepare some rum punch recipes!