Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens



In honor of today (February 7 2012) being the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, Cafe Drake is listening to NPR's 2-hour prime time tribute and offering up a winter punch attributed to the author himself. The recipe is snagged from The Charles Dickens Cookbook by Brenda Marshall and adapted by the ever inspiring Lynne Rosetto of The Splendid Table.

  • Zest of lemons, cut into several pieces each
  • 1 packed cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups dark rum
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 4 cups very hot water
  • More sugar to taste

  • 1. In a 4-quart saucepan combine the lemon zest, sugar, rum, and the brandy. Warm over low heat.
  • 2. Be sure there's no exhaust fan running. Stand well back as you light the liquid with a long match. When the flames have gone out, stir in the lemon juice and the water.
  • 3. Taste for sugar. Bring the punch to a very gentle bubble, cover completely and cook 10 minutes.
  • 4. Remove the lemon zest. Set aside up to 3 hours, or refrigerate overnight.
  • 5. Serve warm, ladled into handled cups.
  • Note from Lynne: My own touch here would be a few cinnamon sticks added with the lemon zest.


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