September 20th, 2011
08:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Gather around the punch bowl, a different kind of water cooler– September 20 is National Punch Day!

You can skip straight to the punchline today. Whether you like it spiked or as innocent as a high school homecoming, punch has been a catch-all beverage since the 1600s.

Originally, punch, known as "panch" in Hindi, "panj" in Persian or "panchan" in Sanskrit (all words meaning "five"), was made with alcohol, sugar, lemon juice, water and tea or spices. The British developed their popular Wassail, created around a wine or brandy base, but once Jamaican rum dropped on the scene circa 1655, modern punch was born. Naturally, today is also National Rum Punch Day.

Fruit punch was developed by soft drink manufacturers, although it doesn't have much to do with fruit in the first place. Different regions and cultures are famous for their own takes on punch, so try one of these 600 or one of the dozen vintage recipe in the gallery above.

We dare you to attempt Chatham Artillery Punch. According to Joe Odom, it's "seven parts liquor, three parts juice, whatever you have on hand on both counts." Drink up, and try to remember us in the morning.

Click through for 12 vintage punch recipes

The Vintage Cookbook Vault highlights recipes from our managing editor's insane stash of books and pamphlets from the early 20th century onward. It's a semi-regular thing. Recipes above are from 'Here's How: Mixed Drinks' circa 1941. Many thanks to Heather O'Donnell of Bauman Rare Books for bringing this magical volume into our lives.

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soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Stephane Kochheiser

    You must participate in a contest for the most effective blogs on the web. I'll recommend this site!

    December 20, 2013 at 3:01 am |
  2. timmy

    and he done punched him!lol!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  3. sdfgdsgf

    All alcoholic, lame. I guess its fine for people who like to be drunken idiots, but what about the rest of us!

    September 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Jerv

      Lighten up and try some o-ray-gah-no.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Scott

      The rest of us? I guess the sober idiots can drink soda pop

      September 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • T. Bagher

      I have to agree...if these recipes appeal to you, then you are an alcoholic.

      As for us, our family motto is "Alchol Free Is The Way To Be."...we celebrate special ocasions by having a family gathering, maybe a sing along and some healthy snacks.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Foster Brooks@sdfgdsgf

      Thash oh-kay (hic). You can jusht keep beig an idee(hic)ut withOUT dringking. Leavesh more for the resht of ush.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  4. Repressed Publishing

    If you're interested in vintage drink receipts, check out our collection of antiquarian "fancy drink" books.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  5. iamacynic37

    that chatham artillery punch is unreal. So awsome, my buddy and i mad it for Xmas one year and what an xmas it was. Suggest using the largest beerstein u can find and serving nug full of ice, attempting the bruise the booze; however, it wont help

    September 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  6. Charles

    Chatham Artillery Punch is actually a recipe from the 1700s, and it looks like the recipe posted here is a tad different, but still has the spirit (pun intended!). I've made it a number of times and it will indeed deliver. But I let mine steep for 4 weeks unrefrigerated (it was the 18th century!) and then add the champaign before serving over ice. And if you find the original recipe it was created to make 14 gallons of the stuff! After all, they were getting about 150 soldiers well lubricated after fighting. They really knew how to drink back in the day.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  7. Jorge

    I've got a recipe which I would rather call "blindside" than "punch."

    1 part pineapple juice.
    1 part lemon-lime soda
    1 part peach brandy
    1 part Amaretto
    1 part bourbon
    1/2 part Everclear
    Dash of Frangelico
    Serve with crushed ice. After 5 minutes, stand back & watch.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Swinky

      Everclear can fuel the space shuttle, it is so strong.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  8. rosie

    Presumably nobody back then worried about sugar intake, either. "2 lbs. sugar" "4 lbs. sugar" Wow. Sugar and alcohol have been replaced by Jenny Craig and Starbucks. Ah, the good old days.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  9. Mit

    National punch day?!

    Time to go Mayweather on everyone's a$$es

    September 20, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  10. Scott

    I love how these old punch recipes are almost all booze. Our great-grandparents knew how to party.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  11. Jimmy Rigsby

    My grandmother used to make punch. If only she could be here now. She'd say "Punch Day, whopee!". What a riot. Too bad. Back then, cars just didn't have the safety features to match her spirit. Welp, if it's one less woman off the road, I guess I'll take it.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  12. Hungry Gringo

    I'd be taken aback by how complicated some of those recipe are, but then I remember my old college Hunch Punch recipe that took two days and required a pressurized CO2 tank.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  13. Ms. Grammar

    National Punch Day...interesting! I have a couple of people I'd like to treat to a "punch."

    Anyhoo, my favorite is the original Planters Punch – so much rum and fruit. YUMMY!

    September 20, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  14. Jerv

    I love the little illustrations in the Vintage Punch Recipes.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:39 am |
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