Created by yours truly (Simon Difford) to serve live on Christmas Eve 2002 during a broadcast on BBC Radio Four. 'Auntie' is a nickname for the BBC and the drink uses the traditional punch proportions of 1 sour, 2 sweet, 3 strong and 4 weak.
The godfather of bartending, Jerry Thomas, offered both a hot and cold version of his Scotch Whisky Punch in his 1862 Bartender's Guide and it is in the cold form that the drink has survived. Modernity dictated that we streamline the recipe and ingredients which originally called for boiling water and an extended chilling period.
Probably the most famous of all punch recipes this is believed to have originated at a Philadelphia fishing and social club called the ‘State in Schuylkill Fishing Corporation’ which was established in 1732 with a club house built on the banks of Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill River (pronounced Skoo-kul). When the drink was first made here is unknown but drinks historian David Wondrich says the first written reference to the Fish House Punch appeared in 1794. Others say it was first made in 1848 by Shippen Willing of Philadelphia to celebrate women being allowed into the Fish House for the first time for a Christmas Party. Whatever the origin, as with all traditional punch recipes, this would have originally been mixed in larger quantities and served from a punch bowl. Many modern variations use soda water (club soda) in place of mineral water. The inclusion of peach liqueur is a modern substitute for the traditional barrel-aged peach brandy. However, some believe the Schuylkill original omitted peach entirely. The following poem may be recited when serving a Fish House Punch. There's a little place just out of town, Where, if you go to lunch, They'll make you forget your mother-in-law With a drink called Fish-House Punch.