History of Cognac Punch

Cognac Punch

Before, there were cocktails, there was punch!

According to lore, the first punches were sailors’ drinks. In the early 17th century, Caribbean sailors would mix rum and local citrus juices in large vats and consume copious amounts of this beverage. It didn’t take long before punch made its way to the taverns and coffee houses on land. Brandies, especially cognac, became the favorite mixer for new types of punches suitable to serve to tavern goers and coffee house clientele. Thus, the punch bowl, often brimming with cognac, became the centerpiece of many genteel and not so genteel gatherings.

Jerry Thomas was a mid-nineteenth century bartender from New York who practiced his craft in New York, New Orleans Chicago and other cities throughout the United States. Mr. Thomas was inventive and often created new drinks and his fame and fortune grew – it is said that he might earn $100 a week – a prodigious amount in the mid-late 19th century. In 1862, Jerry Thomas published a book containing many of his cocktail creations, including his famous cognac punches. The book was so popular it was re-printed two years after his death in 1885.

Hennessy revives the spirt of Jerry Thomas with their Jerry Thomas Brandy Punch.

The Jerry Thomas Brandy Punch features Hennessy VS and includes rum, a nod to the original Caribbean sailor punches, as well as lemon juice, pineapple and Grand Marnier.

Jordan Bushnell, master mixologist explains how to make a bowl of Jerry Thomas Brandy Punch:

Hennessy VS label

Hennessy also suggests that their VS Cognac form the basis of three more punches:

Hennessy Sunset Punch

The Sunset Punch features grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange and orange flavored cognac, Grand Marnier.

Punch Royal

The Punch Royal is a blend of apple, lemon and mint mixed with almost equal parts of Champagne and Cognac.

Berry Lemonade Punch

The Berry Lemonade Punch is an elaborate concoction that mixes ruby port, créme de muir or cassis, simple syrup, lemon juice, cranberry or raspberry juice, ginger ale, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Cognac.com Cocktail Corner

To make a cognac punch you will need:

Hennessy VS, or Couvoisier, Martell VS, Rémy Martin or Camus VS
Large punch bowl
Punch or rocks glasses
Mixers, fruit, simple syrup as required.

For more on the history of cognac cocktails and punch visit Experience Cognac

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