Recipe: Canadian Punch

Recipe: Canadian Punch

Being served at my birthday party. From The Punch Bowl, via Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks (1862).

UPDATE: This punch may have flown in 1862, but today it’s too weak and flavorless (the pineapples did nothing). I ultimately doctored it up by cutting the water back to about 1 1/2 quarts, and added a cup of triple sec and a cup of cherry liqueur. Much better punch.

Canadian Punch

1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into rings (not canned!)
6 lemons, thinly sliced
4 quarts water
2 750ml bottles rye whiskey (I’m using one bottle of Canadian, one of a lighter Bourbon)
2 cups dark Jamaican rum

Place everything gently into a punch bowl and add a large block of ice. Serves 35 to 50.

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Edoc on September 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Before you posted your update, I was going to remark that the recipe seemed like it would produce watered-down booze. There’s a noticeable lack of sugar, and it’s not clear to me that the lemon would provide enough bitterness/complexity. All of which suggests that it is not going to taste very good. I might have experimented by adding some Canton ginger liqueur, or perhaps some tea (vodka tea, or chamomile liqueur).

  2. Jeff on September 6, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I agree that this recipe is generally too watered down. In terms of flavor, though, muddling the fruit helps tremendously.

  3. erik.ellestad on September 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Yeah, odd that “The Punch Bowl” chose to left out Thomas’ very important “Sweeten to Taste”.

    It’s worth noting that Jamaica Rum would be something like Smith & Cross or Coruba. It’s also worth noting, that in the 1800s, the spirits would probably have been barrel proof, so not quite so dilute. Still, those old punch recipes are designed to be a bit more dilute than modern tastes enjoy.

    Anyway, these ingredients might be salvageable, but what I would do:

    The day before, infuse the booze with the pineapple and lemon peels. Juice the lemons and add to prior. Make a fair bit of simple syrup. Day of event, strain the lemon peel and pineapples out of the mixture, squeezing to salvage as much juice as possible. Sweeten to taste with simple syrup and pour over your big ice. Dilute a bit more with sparkling water or Champagne. Garnish with a little freshly cut fruit.

    If you’re interested in punch, I would suggest David Wondrich’s book for more guidelines and tips regarding punch technique.

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