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Philadelphia Fish House Punch Recipe

The story goes that in pre-revolutionary Philadelphia the result of trading with the Caribbean countries brought to the colonies great quantities of rum and lemons. There were no restaurants (as we know them) in those days, just inns and fish houses. Lunch was a busy time and the fish houses kept punch bowls of Fish House Punch in their outer foyers to amuse their clientele until they were seated. We serve it in place of cocktails at our annual Christmas dinners.

I made a huge bowl of it at our home for about forty guests who attended the second Combat! reunion and whom we entertained on the last Sunday afternoon.

Utensils needed:

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Large punch bowl
punch glasses
measuring cup


1.5 lbs. sugar
12 C. bottled water
6 C. lemon juice (bottled)
1 lemon, sliced
2 bottles Jamaica rum
2 bottles white rum
1 C. peach flavored brandy


Dissolve sugar in water and lemon juice. Add liquors, cover punch bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for three or four hours. Just before serving, add a block of ice and float the lemon slices for garnish.

*Note: I make my own ice blocks by filling two 1-pound coffee cans with bottled water and freezing them several days ahead, then unmolding them and keeping them in the freezer until ready for use.

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