Chatham Artillery Punch: A Cocktail for Georgia

At least 20 servings

An old concoction that can serve an army

Artillery punches weren’t named for their explosive effect on sobriety. They’re a legacy of the nineteenth century, when local militias were men’s clubs for the social elite. When men gather, drinking can become a competition, and that was true of Savannah’s militia, the Chatham Artillery. While some claim their signature punch was served to George Washington when he gave the regiment two cannons in 1792, most accounts credit Sergeant A.B. Luce with devising the booze-forward formula to welcome the militia back from a drill in Macon in the 1850s. The punch’s reputation was cemented when journalists toured Savannah in 1870 and dubbed the drink “a mortal enemy of despair.”


    • 8 lemons

    • 1½ cups sugar

    • 1 pint brandy

    • 1 pint rum

    • 1 pint whiskey

    • 2 (750ml) bottles dry sparkling wine


  1. The night before, thinly peel lemons and muddle peels with sugar in a jar. Juice lemons to get 1½ cups juice and add to jar to dissolve sugar. Let stand overnight. Fill a large bowl with crushed ice and add brandy, rum, and whiskey. Strain lemon juice and sugar mixture into bowl, discarding peels. Just before serving, add sparkling wine. Yield: At least 20 servings.

From Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl by David Wondrich.