Friday, January 16

Foody Friday: Tea Punch

It's friday again, so it's recipe time. Staying on the subject of tea, and even on the subject of liquid, this week I present a favourite Victorian recipe: tea punch.

In fact, I have four recipes for tea punch. I'll start with the one I've actually made (the one that doesn't take over a week to make...), and include the others for general interest. You know, since distilling your own alcohol is illegal in this country.

I was going to do a spiel on how tea is produced, but with four recipes it doesn't seem relevant. Next week is Earl Grey Chicken Supreme, so that can come then.

Tea Punch (and variations thereof)

Modern Recipe


700 ml Water
300 ml Brandy
300g Sugar
2 tsp Loose Leaf Tea
1 Lemon


1 lt Bottle


Zest your lemon, and slice up the flesh, avoiding pith and pips.

Put into your bowl, along with the sugar and tea.

Boil your water and add to boil.

Leave for 20 minutes.

Add brandy.

Strain, and bottle.

Can be drunk warm or cold, though tastes sweeter when warm (and be careful not to overheat, or all that brandy will disappear). This is the least alcoholic of the recipes.

Victorian recipe

Only slightly less convenient than the modern, it has to be said, though you will end up with loads. Also, considerably more alcoholic.


10g Green Tea
1 kg Sugar
1 lt Water
4 Lemons
3 Oranges
2 lt Dark Rum


Large saucepan
3 lt Bottle


Zest your lemons and slive up the flesh of your oranges.

Bung into pan along with water, sugar and tea.

Bring to the boil, simmer for a few seconds, and strain.

Allow to cool, and add the Dark Rum.

Opposite water:alcohol ratio, so a lot stronger, hence the need for more sugar and fruit. They only get stronger from here on in...

Tea Brandy

We've reached the distilled punches now. Check whether this is legal where you are before you make it!


5.5 lt Brandy
2.7 lt River water (I thought that was weirdly specific, and also rather dangerous considering when this recipe came into being, but the alcohol will kill the nasties!)
30 g Green Tea
2 kg Sugar


Large container (over 8 lt)
Bain Marie
Large filter
3 lt bottle


Infuse the tea in the brandy and water for eight days (you can see why I never even contemplated this one).

Distill in a Bain Marie until you only hve 3 lts of liquid.

Dissolve sugar in the warm liquid.

Filter and bottle.

Again, very strong, especially with the distillation (you're making it stronger than the brandy was originally). When it says Tea Brandy, it means Tea Brandy - it makes no further pretense.

Tea Liquer


125 g Green Tea
5 lt Water
8 lt 'diluted' Brandy/Sherry
2 1/2 kg Sugar


Large container (over 8 lt)
Huge saucepan
Bain Marie
Large filter
9 lt bottle ( or 3 x 3 lt bottles!)


Infuse 1/2 lt of water with your tea. Allow to cool until luke warm.

Add to your diluted brandy/sherry. Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing how diluted your alcohol ought to be.

Leave to "macerate" (sit in a corner) for eight days.

Distill until you have 4 1/2 lt of liquid.

Melt your sugar in the other 4 1/2 lt of water.

Combine, filter and bottle.

I'm not sure why you'd need 9 lt of this stuff, but you could have one hell of a party.

The punch I made is deceptively nice, though I wouldn't say it tastes particularly strongly of tea. Of course, in the late 18th / early 19th Century sugar consumption was a sign of wealth. It wasn't uncommon to take up to 10 sugars in your tea. To a Victorian at a party, these probably tasted more similar to the tea they drank than it does to ours (or Orwell's). Many of the recipes originally come for a French book from this period: Les Secrets du Liquoriste et du Confiseur. Unfortunately, I can't find anything more about it.


Perrier-Robert, Annie; The Book of Tea (in France Le Te); Hachete Illustrated; 1999

(Oh, and if you're wondering what happened to Wednesday - well, I went to see Slumdog Millionaire at the cinema. It was brilliant.)

No comments: