Daniel Webster’s Punch

Adapted from Sherry by Talia Baiocchi

Yes, that Daniel Webster. Though a quick Google search for Daniel Webster’s Punch will bring up several variant recipes, they all refer to the same man—the famed Massachusetts senator of yore. In his book Punch, David Wondrich attributes the wealth of different recipes floating around to the fact that, at least in part, asking for a glass of Webster’s Punch seemed to be akin to a 19th-century version of “stump the bartender.” No one really knew which version Daniel Webster actually preferred and, thus, riffs abound.

The original version of this recipe, adapted by Wondrich, comes from the Steward & Barkeeper’s Manual (1869) with the assertion that this was the very punch recipe that Webster gave to his friend, “Major Brooks, of Boston”, before his death. True or not, it’s a tasty punch and one whose quantities and ice mold can easily be adjusted for season and party size.

Reprinted with permission from Sherry by Talia Baiocchi, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.



  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 bag black tea
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup cognac
  • 3/4 cup oloroso, dry
  • 3/4 cup Jamaican rum
  • 1 1/2 cups Bordeaux, or any full-bodied red wine
  • champagne, to top

  1. Peel the lemons, taking care to avoid as much of the bitter white pith as possible.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar with the lemon peels, then lightly muddle and let sit for 20 minutes to allow the citrus oils to infuse with the sugar.
  3. Boil 2 cups of water and steep the tea bag in it for 5 minutes, and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. To the bowl, add the tea, lemon juice, cognac, sherry, rum and red wine, and stir to combine.
  5. Strain out the lemon peels and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Fifteen minutes before serving, add the ice ring (see Editor's Note).
  7. Ladle into cups and lightly top each glass with champagne.
Editor's Note

To make ice ring, add enough water to a bundt cake mold to fill halfway to the top. Evenly place 5 strawberries cut in half lengthwise, 5 slices of pineapple and 10 mint leaves. Freeze overnight.