A recipe for Punch from William Byrd, plus his rules for drinking

William Byrd, a landed gentleman from Virginia, wrote copiously about the food and drink in 18th century colonial America. In addition to his Natural History of Virginia, or the Newly Discovered Eden, he also wrote The Secret History of the Dividing Line (between Virginia and North Carolina), in which he portrayed the foodways of rural North Carolina in ways that were, perhaps, a tad misleading, but were designed to encourage emigration from England to the under-populated colony, reassuring  potential colonists that they could maintain an English identity in the wilds of America. 

Take: “two or three bottles of water—according to whether the drink is desired strong or weak—a bottle of rum, the juice of six or twelve lemons, which are strained through a clean cloth or piece of linen, and a pound more or less of sugar—according to the sweetness desired. All this is mixed together…after which one has a very pleasant drink.”

William Byrd, William Byrd’s Natural History of Virginia, or the Newly Discovered Eden, Richmond Croom Beatty and William J. Mulloy, eds. (Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1940), 92.

An eighteenth-century “recipe” to “prevent the fatal Effects of drinking cold Water, or cold Liquors of any Kind, in warm weather”

1st. Avoid drinking while you are warm, or,2dly. Drink only a small quantity at once, and let it remain a short time in your mouth before you swallow it; or,

3dly. Grasp the vessel out of which you are about to drink (provided it is made of glass, earthen ware, or metal) for a few minutes, with both your hands, for each of these substances conveys off a portion of the heat of the body into the cold liquor, and thereby lessens the danger which arises from the excessive heat of the body, and the coldness of the liquor; or,

4thly. Wash your hands and face, and rinse your mouth with cold water before you drink. If these precautions have been neglected, and the disorder incident to drinking cold water hath been produced, the first, and in most instances, the only remedy to be administered, is sixty drops of liquid laudanum in spirit and water, or warm drink of any kind.