The Secret of Roman Punch

Eric Felton writes about drinking, cocktails and ritual in the WSJ on the weekends. Today he taught me about Roman Punch. The tale is long, and goes way back to Dolly Hayes, the famous teet0talling first lady, who would serve no booze in the White House. “The water flowed like Champagne.” wrote William Maxwell Evarts, famous lawyer to many presidents after a state dinner. He defended Andrew Johnson when he was impeached, and was secretary of state under Rutherford Hayes after helping him get into office.

Edith Wharton also apparently was mad for Roman Punch. The drink faded from popularity after WW1, and is now thoroughly forgotten. But that photo of those oranges filled with boozy slush…yum, boozy slush…

The drink is made with rum, and brandy, and champagne, and curacao, frozen and served like a sorbet in carved out orange rinds. With a spoon. It was once used to serve clandestine booze without a temperate hostess knowing you are having it.