Before people drunk cocktails they drank punch.
Derived from the Hindustani word“panch”, meaning “ ve”, punch refers to the elements of sweet, sour, bitter, water and strong which were traditionally mixed in punch.
Punch was a product of society. A sociable way to enjoy a tipple with company and would most usually be prepared by servants in the great houses of the British, both at home and throughout the Empire.
The most enduring of punches evolved into one of gin’s best known potions, the Tom Collins. Limmer’s Hotel on Conduit Street in central London was a dive bar of it’s time. The bartender, one John Collins, served a simple mix of gin, lemon juice, sugar, soda and capillaire (an orange flower flavoured syrup). The gin of the time was known as Old Tom so his punch became the Tom Collins and was immortalized in the memoirs of Captain John Gronow.
Combine gin, lemon juice and syrup in a punch bowl; stir to blend. Add orange blossom water to taste, then stir. Add large block of ice and top with chilled sparkling water. Garnish with lemon wheels.
Rich simple syrup:
Heat two parts sugar and 1 part water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool before using.
Limmer's Punch — for one
Prep: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 drink
2 ounces gin
2 ounces sparkling water, chilled
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounce rich simple syrup
1 dash orange blossom water
Shake all ingredients, except the lemon slice, with ice and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.