Good Eats

A Legendary Summertime Punch

By Jessica MischnerJuly 6, 2015

In the 1740’s, a Virginia diplomat recorded what is believed to be the first mention of Fish House Punch, a colonial-era concoction, which originated at America’s oldest fishing club, in Philadelphia, and was a favorite of George Washington’s. Nearly three hundred years later, Atlanta mixologist Miles Macquarrie stumbled upon the nearly forgotten recipe in an old cocktail manual. At his Decatur bar Kimball House, he hews closely to that original formula, combining a potent mix of rum, brandy, and peach liqueur (he makes his own from fresh Georgia fruit, but a high-quality store-bought schnapps works just fine, too), sweetened with lemony sugar, then diluted with cold tea and water. “I discovered this years ago and never felt the need to change it,” he says. “Plus, everybody loves it—hard not to.”

Photograph by Margaret Houston

To serve the punch party-style, chill a big batch in the largest vessel you have on hand and then dispense individual servings into punch cups. Or, to mix things up a bit, Macquarrie suggests pouring it like a cocktail over one large, slow-melting hunk of ice in a rocks glass (to maximize coldness without watering the drink down). “It’s all about keeping the flavor,” he says. Regardless of how you sip it, there’s no doubt this icy punch will bring some heat to any summertime party.

Fish House Punch
From Miles Macquarrie, Kimball House, Atlanta

½ cup superfine sugar
1½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 750ml bottle vsop cognac, chilled
1 750ml bottle rum, chilled
1½ cups black tea, chilled
¾ cup peach liqueur, chilled
1 cup water
Lemon wheels, for garnish

Dissolve sugar into lemon juice in a large pitcher. Add remaining ingredients, then pour over a large piece of ice in a punch bowl. Garnish with lemon wheels.