34. St. Charles’ Punch

St-Charles-Punch-1

Happy Fourth of July to all my US readers! And, happy fourth of July to all the rest of you. (No reason not to celebrate the day, I say.) In honor of this occasion, another delicious punch from a very American hero — I’ve said it before, but just to note again — the Bartender’s Guide is the first American cocktail handbook. A piece of history! And this drink is very patriotically colored. Now go make yourself a glass, and watch the fireworks.

No super interesting news stories today (other than my realization that we are just ten years away from the 250th birthday of the United States, which is exciting and also surprising that it hasn’t even been that long), so instead, a quick quote about the inspiration for this drink. It’s apparently named after the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans at the time. Generously described in Mary Cable’s Lost New Orleans:

The St. Charles was certainly no common structure. It was taller than any building in New Orleans — six stories, surmounted by a gleaming white dome that could be seen for miles up and down the river. According to Norman’s 1845 guidebook, “The effect of the dome upon the sight of the visitor, as he approaches the city, is similar to that of St. Paul’s in London.” Mr. Norman, beside himself with admiration, went on to speak of the “indescribable effect of the sublime and matchless proportions of this building upon all spectators — even the stoical Indian and the cold and strange backwoodsman, when they first view it, are struck with wonder and delight.”

Sadly, it no longer exists. Drink to its memory!

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