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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Victorian Christmas Punch & Eggnog

In an 1847 letter, Charles Dickens gave the following recipe for Christmas Punch:

Peel into a very common basin (which may be broken in case of accident, without damage to the owner’s peace or pocket) the rinds of three lemons, cut very thin and with as little as possible of the white coating between the peel and the fruit, attached.
Add a double handful of lump sugar (good measure), a pint of good old rum, and a large wine-glass of good old brandy—if it be not a large claret glass, say two.
Set this on fire, by filling a warm silver spoon with the spirit, lighting the contents at a wax taper, and pouring them gently in. Let it burn three or four minutes at least, stirring it from time to time. Then extinguish it by covering the basin with a tray, which will immediately put out the flame.
Then squeeze in the juice of the three lemons, and add a quart of boiling water. Stir the whole well, cover it up for five minutes, and stir again.

I came across this authentic recipe from that most renowned of Victorian writers, and thought I would share.  For more detailed instructions, visit  (Historical Foods is a fascinating site to explore).   Please note that the instructions do include the warning to be sure to use a HEAT-PROOF PUNCHBOWL AND GLASSES.  They might also include a reminder not to drink and drive after this festive concoction of sugar, citrus, rum and brandy!

And a Victorian Christmas would not be complete without eggnog (it was noted by an Englishman in 1866 that, “Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nog for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging …"), so here is your link to Victorian-era recipes for authentic home-made eggnog:

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