One thing I found interesting, researching the punch piece, was that English drinking started with ales, of course, then drinks made from ales, often involving dairy. Egg Nog descends from that tradition. Then come punches, from India, in the 17th and 18th century. Initially punches were something very specific, a combination of spirit, citrus juice, sugar, water and spices. Then it became anything in a bowl. Then cocktails, mostly coming from America, became the rage, though many favorite punch recipes lived on, just made by the glass. You can even look at something as simple as whiskey and water, a very common way to drink whiskey at one time, and see the lemon twist providing that little bit of citrus.
The other thing that is less common today than it once was is substantial dilution, by which I mean two, three or more parts water to one part whiskey. This was more common even in living memory. It probably has to do with a couple of things: Whiskey/spirits used as a way of making water safe to drink, cutting whiskey with a lot of water to cut the unpleasant taste of poorly made spirits, and the unavailability of alternatives such as ice, seltzer, soft drinks, etc.
Last edited by cowdery
on Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.