Quoit Club Punch - Gastro Obscura
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Quoit Club Punch

Drinkers downed this serious cocktail while hurling heavy rings at posts in the 18th century.

Before horseshoe-throwing became a leisure activity, groups gathered to pitch heavy rings known as quoits. In 1788, well-to-do residents of Richmond, Virginia, founded the posh Quoit Club. Weather permitting, the club hosted an outdoor barbecue every other Saturday, where revelers drank excessively and chucked their rings at posts.

At the time, social clubs across the nation often served members punch. Kitchen staff prepared a giant bowl to satisfy large parties of thirsty merrymakers, no bartending required. Jasper Crouch, a renowned African-American cook and bartender at Richmond’s Quoit Club, is thought to have invented the institution’s namesake punch. He blended rum, brandy, and Madeira (a fortified wine made on the Portuguese island of Madeira) with lemon and a bit of ice. If this sounds intimidatingly strong, well, that was the point. Recreational lawn game players may have come to mess around, but when it came to getting drunk, they weren’t messing around.

Need to Know

For steps on preparing your own bowl, see Punch's cocktail recipe.

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