Punch Bowl Recipies

There are many variations of artillery punch as there are imaginative artillerymen who pull corks as proficiently as they pull lanyards. The camaraderie of Artillerymen is exhibited not just on Saint Barbara's Day, but the whole year through. So here are a few variations on tradition to be enjoyed wherever and whenever artillerymen mass their fires around a punch bowl.

Lest the honored reputations of gunners as dilettantes in the concoction and imbibing of delectable punches be lost in this millennial age, it seems proper that information on preparing the historical libations that warmed and gladdened the hearts of Redlegs and Marines of old be forthcoming.

From the latter part of the 18th century, punches have been popular for all social affairs, particularly among military units. Unique recipes often became associated with certain regiments either by virtue of invention or frequency of serving at their social functions and, in time, became identified by the regiment's name.

The name, itself punch is derived from the Hindustani or Urdu word panj, meaning five, thus being descriptive of the five major ingredients of a true punch. English regiments allegedly brought home from India this tradition of punch making and drinking, from whence it spread to the American colonies and subsequently to state militia organizations, then to the Continental Army, and eventually to its Regular Army successors. Hence punch and punches are old Army traditions to be treated with proper respect by all present-day warriors. Herewith follow a few distinguished artillery representatives.

Field Artillery Punch Tasting Event

In some Field Artillery formations, unit leadership hosts a punch tasting event to ensure that only the best punch recipe is chosen for the unit's Saint Barbara Celebration.  Below are some standing rules that could be utlized if your unit decided to host such an event:

Punch Tasting Rules

-Sample all punches

-Sample lots of food

-Resample punches

-Vote for favorite punch (use ballot)

-Continue to have fun

-Vote by 1950, Commander will announce results at 2000, or when he is ready

-Continue to have fun

-When leaving drive safely

First Artillery Punch

by MG (Ret) George Ruhlen, the Field Artillery Journal, March-April 1977.

About 1910, the widow of GEN Alanson Randol, an officer of the First Artillery during and after the Civil War, gave this recipe to my father, then stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco. Mrs. Randol said it had been used by the First Artillery for many years, dating back to Civil War times, when peach brandy was sometimes substituted for champagne.

Prepare a pint of triple-strength black tea and a pint of triple-strength green tea; then blend the two together. Place in a suitable large container, either glass or crockery, 3 pound of loaf sugar. Grate upon it the rinds of three lemons; then add their juice and the juice of two oranges. Pour the boiling tea mixture over this. Stir well, cover and set aside to cool.

When cool, add in this order, stirring slowly, 2 quarts Jamaica (NOT Puerto Rican) rum, 1 quart good-bodied sherry and 1-quart brandy. Mix well, cover and let stand for several days, preferably a week, in a cool place.

When ready for use, pour the mixture over a block of ice in a large punch bowl and add 3 or 4 quarts' champagne, which greatly improves the taste of the punch and gives it life. The quantities given above are suitable for small groups such as were found on one or two company posts about 15 to 20 people. It is alleged that when other branches of the service were entertained, it was sometimes necessary to dilute the punch with an equal amount of mineral water.

Artillery Punch

by George B. Powell

Everyone knows artillery punch was first made of brandy and red wine, but today there are as many different recipes as there are Redleg bartenders. I don't claim my recipe is the one and only, but it is the one I concocted when detailed to prepare artillery punch for a change of command ceremony at Fort Clayton, Canal Zone, in 1955. The primary considerations were to make the punch inexpensive yet maintain the traditional taste and bouquet. To meet the first requirement, I used vodka and cold tea because they were relatively inexpensive and tasteless. The second requirement was met by using the original brandy and claret wine.

1 brandy

1 ½ vodka

2 claret wine

¼ Cointreau

2 cold teas (brewed medium strong)

½ soda

¾ lemon juice

If a standard measuring cup is used as a unit of measure, this recipe will make about one gallon of punch.

Artillery Punch

by Colonel Roger M. Lilly

1 bottle whiskey

1 bottle sherry

1 bottle champagne

1 bottle burgundy

1 bottle club soda

1 bottle sauterne

Pour over a large piece of ice. Two rounds serve about 25 people.

Artillery Punch

by Laurie Helmich

1 pound sugar

3 lemons

2 oranges

1 quart strong tea

1 quart champagne

1 quart Old Jamaica Rum

1 quart sherry

½ pint brandy

Put sugar in bowl, add grated rind of three lemons, juice of two lemons, juice of two oranges, pour in boiling tea. Cover and cool. When cool, add rum, sherry and brandy.

Chill. When ready to serve, add champagne. Dilute with one or two quarts of soda for other branches of service.

The preceding recipes were courtesy of the Officers' Wives' Cookbook, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Artillery Militia Punch

½ pint brandy

¾ pint dark rum

½ pint gin

1 quart strong tea

 ½ pint rye whiskey

½ pound brown sugar

4 ounces Benedictine

4 ounces orange juice

3 ounces lemon juice

¼ bottle maraschino cherries

Combine the above items two days before serving. Serve from wooden swab bucket with gourd dipper. Place two pounds of dry ice in bottom of bucket, pour in above mixture and stir gently with two bottles of champagne. Have aide prepare to lead your horse home.

11th Marines Artillery Punch

By CWO5 (Ret) Dave Thomas

Hawaiian Fruit Punch (Gal) X3

Hawaiian Orange Punch (Gal) X3

Rum (1.75L) X 1

Vodka (1.75L) X 1

Bourbon (1.75L) X 1

Gin (1.75L) X 1

-Mix all ingredients together in a large stock pot

-Should make enough to fill up three chow hall juice dispensers

Chatham Artillery Punch

Compliments of the Field Artillery Society of the South Carolina Militia

The following recipe has been a great favorite of the Chatham Artillery of Savannah, Georgia, for over a century and is still served at local functions. The Chatham Artillery was founded May 1, 1786, by Revolutionary veterans living near Savannah. Its modern descendants are Headquarters Battery, 48th Armored Division Artillery, and Battery B, 118th Field Artillery, Georgia Army National Guard.

1 pound green tea in 2 gallons' cold water, steep overnight, then strain

3 gallons' pink Catawba wine

1 gallon rum

1 gallon brandy

1 gallon rye whiskey

5 pounds brown sugar

2 quarts cherries

3 dozen lemons (juiced)

1 gallon gin

Combine and let the stock sit for a week or two in glass bottles. This aging period is quite important. To serve, pour over a block of ice in a large punch bowl and add 12 quarts of champagne. Serves 40 thirsty Artillerymen. After consuming this punch, stay away from open flames and spark-producing items.

Published in the March-April 1977 issue of the Field Artillery Journal. The Cincinnati Historical

Society Bulletin published this recipe for Chatham Artillery Punch in its 1978 Volume 36.

Gunners Punch

Field Artillery Journal, March-April 1977.

When time and availability of ingredients (by local acquisition) permitted, the 3d Armored Field Artillery Battalion, while on occupation duty after World War II. Passed a few uncommonly pleasant hours consuming their traditional combat beverage - equal parts Cointreau, cognac and champagne (C3) which soon became known as Gunners Punch. The 3d Field Artillery veterans heartily recommend it for serious consideration and consumption by today's gunners.

To 1-quart triple-strength black ( or green) tea, add the juice of 12 lemons and then sweeten to taste with sugar. Add ½ pint curacao, ½ pint brandy and 1 quart Jamaica rum; let stand for several hours, preferably overnight, in a cool place (potato cellar, snowbank, etc.)

Over a block of ice in a punch bowl, pour approximately equal parts of the above base, burgundy wine and carbonated water.  The recipe should quench the thirst of 12 to 15 people.

Fran Carroll's Artillery Punch

Courtesy of the 112th Field Artillery and Mr. John J. McMahon.

1 quart brandy

1 bottle sherry wine

1 bottle Maraschino cherries with juice

1 quart rye whiskey

1 quart red, dry French wine

Add 1 quart club soda just before serving. Float lemon slices on top. Charge!

Second Horse Punch

Mix a quart of light rum, a quart of peach brandy, and a pint of lemon juice. In this, dissolve 8 tablespoons of brown sugar and then add 10 tablespoons of bitters and 4 quarts of mineral water.

Tradition says there should be a rusty stirrup in the bottom of the punch bowl, but, presumably this could be omitted without undue effect on the punch's taste. As to what kind of bitters the dragoons used, history is silent-today, angostura is used.