In her book, Tea with Jane Austen, author Kim Wilson gives a detailed account of this staple drink as it was served at all hours of the day, whether at Breakfast or after dinner refreshment and any time in between. Though often drunk on its own, tea was also an ingredient in a variety of other concotions, as shown by the following recipe, shared by “a person who made the punch daily for the Prince’s table…”
The Regent’s or George the Fourth’s Punch
Pare as thin as possible the rinds of two china oranges, of two lemons, and ove one seville orange, and infuse them for an hour in half a pint of thin, cold syrup; then add to them the juice of the fruit. Make a pint of strong green tea, sweeten it well with fine sugar, and when it is quite cold, add to it the fruit and syrup, with a glass of the best old Jamaica rum, a glass of Brandy, one of Arrack, one of pine-apple syrup, and two bottles of Champagnel pass the whole through a fine lawn seive until it is perfectly clear, then bottle and put it into ice until dinner is served. We are indebted for this receipt to a person who made the punch daily for the prince’s table, at Carlton palace, for six months; it has been in our possession for some years and may be relied on.
Modern Cookery for Private Families, by Eliza Acton (1849)
The prince regent, a man of large appetites in so many ways, apparently liked his punch strong. When he overindulged, as he commonly did, the tea in it may have been the only thing that kept him vertical. The recipe below is based on simpler versions from the time, and is a wonderful punch for celebrations and balls.
Regent’s Punch for the Weston’s Ball
- 4 Large Lemons
- 2 cups of water
- 3 tsp loose green tea (three teabags worth)
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 bottle chilled champagne or lemon/lime soda
Roll the lemons on a table to make them jucier. Pare the zest (only the yellow part of the rind) of the lemons. Cut the remaining white rind from the pulp, remove the seeds, then chop the pulp coarsely. Discard the white rind and the seeds. In a non-reactive pan, boil the water, pulp, and zest for 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 1 minute, then pour it over the tea leaves in a heat proof bowl or teapot. Stir, then let steep three minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the sugar and chill. To serve, pour the chilled mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher and stir in the chilled champagne.
From Kim Wilson’s Tea with Jane Austen.
“Tea, a social history, and author Jane Austen–Kim Wilson’s delicious little book will instruct and amuse fans of any or all three…Highly recommended.”
Tea: A Magazine.
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