If you are active on Facebook, you have probably seen the well-meaning “thank a Veteran” photos that pop up on most national holidays. Today, July 4, another batch arrived to Thank a Veteran or we “wouldn’t be celebrating Independence Day.” I think, rather, we should be gratefully raising a pint to our Founding Fathers–both to those who led the Revolution and those who worked so hard to ratify our Constitution and to those who specifically fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 (also called the 2nd War for Independence).
We need to appreciate–and continue to learn from–our forefathers’ ability to work together and to Compromise, when needed. If our current brand of politicians (both sides of the aisle) were around during the infancy of our nation, we would not have a United States.
Let’s pay tribute to the Spirit of ’76 and lift a pint o’ Compromise to our Founding Fathers, and founding soldiers, with this recipe from the Fraunces Tavern in New York City:
A Fish House Punch*
This traditional 18th-century punch originated with the Fish House, founded in 1732. George Washington partook of the punch and did not make an entry in his diary for the next three days. Each year, he is toasted (“To the President”) with this drink.
1 fifth lemon or lime juice
1 fifth brandy
1 c sugar
1 c peach brandy
1 fifth water
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 fifths Jamaican rum
In a bowl (large), empty the rum and brandy bottles and use one for measuring the water and the lemon or lime juice. Dissolve the sugar in the water and stir in the lemon or lime juice. Mix in the other ingredients. Allow the mixture to mellow for a few hours, or overnight, before serving. In order to keep dilution to a minimum, chill the mixture thoroughly before pouring it over a good-sized chunk of ice in a punch bowl. Garnish with peaches. Serves about 40 4-oz punch glasses.
Abigail Adams’ Rum-Tea Punch*
“[This day] will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”–John Adams to his wife, July 2, 1776 (no typo)
2 c lemon juice
1 c strong tea
2 cu superfine sugar
8 c cold water
1-1/2 c amber rum
1/2 c brandy
2 lemons, thinly sliced and seeded
In a large bowl, combine lemon, tea, sugar and cold water. Stir until well blended. Add rum, brandy, and lemon slices. Pour over an ice ring into a punch bowls. Makes 2 dozen 4-oz cups.
(*Source: The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook. Donovan, Hatrak, Mills et al. Praeger: 1975, page 95)