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Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl Hardcover – November 2, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wildly entertaining and fantastically instructive..."
-Bookforum

"Most punches have fascinating back stories - at least they do when Wondrich is in charge."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Mr. Wondrich's noble effort to restore Punch's good name offers sound advice on the basics of Punch-making along with a variety of vintage recipes."
-The Wall Street Journal

"A lively, fascinating history of punch[...]. Wondrich is a tremendously witty writer."
-The New Yorker

"Wondrich peels punch's image off the sticky fraternity house floor and reinstates it into the more dignified annals of drinking tradition."
-The Boston Globe

"It's fair to say there's nobody in the country who knows more about drinking than David Wondrich."
-New York Magazine

"Punch stays true to the antique, but by no means staid, spirit of its old timey, black-and-white-etching-illustrated subject matter, while somehow managing to keep current, relevant, and fresh. [...] A rollickingly fun read."
-TheKitchn.com

"[Wondrich's] interest in history runs as deep as his thirst for beverage experiences on the banks of the mainstream[...]."
-The New York Times

"Punch lovers are in luck[...]. These aren't the fruity, simplistic punches of recent times. They're complex, subtle concoctions...."
-The Oregonian

"The best part of the book isn't the history-it's the 40-plus detailed recipes of how to make your very own authentic Punch."
-The New York Post

About the Author

David Wondrich is one of the world’s foremost authorities on cocktails and their history. A contributing editor at Esquire and at Wine and Spirits, he has also written for numerous other publications on the subject, including the New York Times, Saveur, Real Simple, and Drinks. Dr. Wondrich holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature, and is a founding member of The Museum of the American Cocktail and a partner in Beverage Alcohol Resource, the world’s first advanced education program in spirits and cocktails. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wifeand daughter.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1St Edition edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399536167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399536168
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Wondrich was born on the banks of the Monongahela and raised mostly in suburban New York City. After working as a house painter, a mattress stuffer, messenger, clerk and process server for a mob lawyer, bass player in more bands than he can count and a dozen other things, he settled down and earned a doctorate in Comparative Literature, specializing in Latin scientific poetry. That led to a job as an English professor, which he didn't like. What he did like was writing about jazz and ragtime for the Village Voice and the New York Times and about cocktails for Esquire, a job he began in 1999 and is still happily performing today. Imbibe, his 2007 tribute to Professor Jerry Thomas, has become an essential text for bartenders and cocktail geeks alike. It is the first cocktail book to win a James Beard award. Punch, his 2010 follow-up, has helped refill the flowing bowl around the world. At present he is hard at work on a big, thick reference book.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a strict and fervent teetotaler, so I might be the wrong person to review _Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl_ (Perigee) by David Wondrich. True, I am never going to sample any of the many and curious recipes which Wondrich has provided, but although his book is partly a how-to guide about making and enjoying punch, it is also a history of a drink that has a has a lot of international relations connected to it. Punch also (and this is why the book's subject interested me) shows up in a lot of the old books I like to read. Wondrich, who has published often about mixing drinks (he counts himself among the fraternity of mixologists), is an amusing writer who has done plenty of research about a subject he obviously loves. He calls punch the first globally popular mixed drink, the grandfather of them all, and says that until this book came out, the recipes for different sorts of punches have never been collected. He has plenty of historical notes about who was making punch and of what ingredients, and while he refers to its being part of say, Dickens and Austen. So you don't have to enjoy punch to enjoy _Punch_.

It is significant that the etymology of "punch" is traced to Hindi. It may be that punch was an Indian drink that members of the English East India Company's trading posts in South Asia adopted. Wondrich, however, makes the case that British expatriates, especially sailors, far from home may have been taking the best available local ingredients and combining them in pleasing ways. Central to such punches was the distillate called "arrack," a generic term for an Indian brew that may have been made for two thousand years. Sailors drank plenty of punch, and sailed the world over, again using whatever was available.
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I was already a fan of Wondrich's previous book "Imbibe", and was pleasantly surprised when I had learned of his follow-up entry "Punch". If you are the curious type, as I am, you'll be delighted to learn more about this niche of history, and with a little bit of preparation, and Mr. Wondrich's help you can taste the beverages that our forefathers enjoyed when they wanted to relax. This book is not only a translation of bygone recipes to modern equivalent of ingredients and measures, it also gives the back-story, and puts the drinks into the context of the period. I couldn't recommend any of David Wondrich's books any higher, as I find myself coming back rereading sections of them again and again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard about this book listening to NPR and was intrigued. After reading the book, I can hardly wait to try some of these recipes. Our superbowl party will include some punch bowls as well! The history aspects of the beverages was quite entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For your beverage shelf in your kitchen bookcase:

Communal beverages are no longer popular but for a couple of centuries they were the thing. This is a well written and well researched book on Punch drinks. Bought on a whim since I enjoyed the punch episode of Good Eats, this is an odd, charming and fun book and perfect for when you are stuck somewhere and need to be self-entertained (car crap, doctor crap,airport). It's engrossing to the point you won't mind being whether you'd rather not be. Clearly not as essential as the Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide but better than most beverage tomes. Tempted to make a big bowl of something for the holidays and place our car keys in the lock box.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent recipes, interesting history
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By Jonathan on October 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an awesome resource if you're interested in making quality drinks for yourself and others. I made one of the recipes for Thanksgiving last year and it was a hit. I've now tried 4 or 5 over the last year and they've all been pretty good. It's also very interesting to know the history behind punch.
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By JANET on September 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is delightfully informative. After reading about the history of punch, I couldn't wait to make some. There are recipes, but you learn so much about the structure of punch, that you can also come up with your own. It's fun to imagine what people were drinking a couple hundred years ago.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book - this is the second copy I've purchased (the first "mysteriously" disappeared from my office). Buy it for the stories, the history, the details… this is NOT a recipe book (though it has great - but not necessarily easy to comprehend - recipes)
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