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Fish House Punch is a great party drink, but we don’t think that you need to wait until you’re entertaining to treat yourself to some. Most recipes for Fish House Punch make anywhere from 8 – 24 servings and, even if you don’t mind having a fridge full of leftovers, that is just way too much punch for one or two people. Because we’re fans of this particular style of punch, we played around until we came up with a Small Batch Fish House Punch that we liked. It’s easy to make and captures all the lemony flavor that makes the original so tasty.
That said, we’re using the word “original” here a bit loosely because there are many was to make Fish House Punch. Trader Vic included four versions of it in his Bartender’s Guide, noting “There are more formulas for this thing than Heinz has beans in all his cans. Throw Campbell’s in there, too.”
When you’re looking at Fish House Punch recipes, however, there are many commonalities. Most have a combination of three types of booze – Jamaican rum, brandy or cognac, and a peach or apricot brandy – and they all use lemon juice as their primary citrus. To boost the citrus, some versions incorporate an oleo saccharum, a syrup that is designed to extract the citrus oil from lemon peels by marinating them in sugar. For a single-serving recipe, the oleo saccharum, as flavorful as it is, didn’t seem like a great use of time. Instead, we took a shortcut by adding some lemon oil (also great for baking) to our simple syrup. We combined that with fresh lemon juice, cognac, apricot brandy and Blackwell rum, a dark Jamaican rum that gives a lot of body to this drink.
Since this recipe is a punch, it is meant to be combined and served over ice. In a big punch bowl, the ice would dilute down the punch quite a bit before it gets to your glass. Here, we added a little bit of water to the mixture to lighten up the cocktail and make it more similar to a full sized punch. If you want to give your cocktail a shake instead of building it like a punch, omit the water and strain it out over ice. Feel free to double the recipe to serve two.
Small Batch Fish House Punch
1 1/2 oz dark Jamaican rum
3/4 oz cognac
1/2 oz apricot brandy
1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
3-4 drops lemon oil (not extract)
1 oz water*
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to combine. Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.
*You can also add ice to your mixing glass and stir to dilute the drink instead of simply adding water.