Good Spirits News 12.19.10

Whiskey for the Winter From the 1750s, give or take a decade, up until the beginning of the next century, Ireland was literally punch-drunk, and indeed in 1821 King George IV could think of no better way to show his “affection” for his Irish subjects than by, as he pledged, “drinking [their] health in a bumper of whisky-punch.” (They might have preferred the right to vote.)

Chilled out & cheery – agog over eggnog The drink fell out of favor eventually, and the New York Sun declared it “to have vanished as absolutely as the dodo” by 1902. (The Sun was wrong, incidentally – people still drink Tom & Jerry in parts of the Midwest, and you can even get premixed versions in Wisconsin.)

The Bowl’s the Thing In all its guises—even kiddie fizzes laced with nothing more potent than red food coloring—punch invites frolicsome gluttony. Mulling the matter, let us continue with a note on mulled ciders and other toasty potions. That note will be brief. “There is not much to be said in general about these,” as Amis once wrote. “They will warm you up, and they will make you drunk if you drink enough of them.” Also, when lovingly seasoned with allspice berries and cloves and such, they do double-duty as air fresheners.

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