Pass the Flowing Bowl

When Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys helped Benedict Arnold seize Fort Ticonderoga, they apparently wanted to celebrate the occasion.  In 1775 these two men, who couldn’t be more different, led the attack on the lightly defended fort, winning it without a fight.  British soldiers stations there hadn’t heard about Lexington and Concord yet, and had no idea that they might be attacked by people who were supposed to be loyal to the crown.  For the Green Mountain Boys, the best way to celebrate was to pass the flowing bowl around.  The bowl was usually filled with punch.

The recipe for punch varied from place to place across the globe, but in the American Colonies it called for rum.  Punch rivaled ale and flip in popularity, and in some colonies exceeded it.  Punch had an added benefit over Flip or ale in that it helped introduce fruits and juices into the diet of colonists, which certainly improved their overall health (rum aside) and fending off scurvy.Wayne Curtis in And a Bottle of Rum referenced a recipe for Planters Punch that was published in The New York Times in 1908 in the form of a ditty:

“This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half sweet.
Of Old Jamaica pour thee three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink “I do no wrong – 
I know whereof I speak.”

Back in my college days, I thought I’d be clever and mix up a batch of punch for a party.  Not being an expert in the art of mixology, I was pretty aggressive in my pours, adding several spirits into a bowl and adding Hawaiian Punch or something like it.  After celebrating a bit too much with this concoction, the night took a turn for the worse.  It was the first and last time I’ve ever made punch.

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