Classic Philadelphia Fish House Punch

Classic Philadelphia Fish House Punch

Rum and Cognac mix with a muddled sugar and lemon mixture, known as oleo-saccharum, and peach brandy in this classic punch, which dates back to the early 18th century. If you can’t find peach brandy (a dry, high-proof brandy distilled from peaches, not the saccharine peach-flavored liqueur) swap in a fruit eau de vie, such as apricot, plum, apple or pear. While this recipe is written to be served cold, it can also be served warm: Skip the ice block and gently warm the punch in a large saucepan or Dutch oven before ladling into small, heatproof mugs or tea cups. Hot or cold, finish each serving with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 18 persons



  1. Step 1

    Place the lemon peels in a medium bowl or a large jar, and reserve the lemons. Add the sugar and use a muddler or the end of a rolling pin to work the sugar into the peels until they start to turn slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. Set aside at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Step 2

    Juice the reserved lemons (you should have about 3/4 cup juice) and add to the mixture. Stir (or cover and shake the jar) until the sugar dissolves. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids and transfer to a large bowl. (The mixture can also be stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.)
  3. Step 3

    Add the rum, Cognac, peach brandy and 6 cups cold water; stir to combine. Pour into resealable bottles or jars, and cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  4. Step 4

    To serve, unmold the prepared ice ring and add to a punch bowl or serving bowl. Add the punch, then ladle into glasses and grate nutmeg on top of each.