Today’s celebration is punch day, meaning the drink that’s in a bowl, not the violent kind that involves hitting. It’s referred to as punch day by most, but it’s also national rum punch day here in the States. And yeah, by most, I mean just the people who have actually ever even heard of any version of this day in the first place, of course. I hadn’t heard of it before this month, but I’m pleased to know it exists and punch bowls bring back some fun memories of parties with friends and family. For me, not so much the larger parties filled with strangers, as those still make me uncomfortable. But with a little rum, who knows what could happen? Traditional punch originally consisted of only five ingredients including alcohol, citrus fruits, water, sugar and spice. Of course, when I was young there wasn’t any booze in the punch. It was usually just an impossibly sweet and red concoction of Hawaiian Punch doused with some Sprite or ginger ale. I only learned later that this was served because it’s literally the easiest than to make for a yard full of thirsty kids. I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of it, but did appreciate the bubbles and sticking my tongue out for friends to get them to tell me how red it had become.
The one thing I remember about my 20’s was that occasional party with the “spiked” punch that didn’t taste like alcohol at all. This is punch in it’s most sinister form with side effects that sort of sneak up on you. I won’t bore you with the stories as I was far too drunk to remember them, but suffice it say, my penchant for punch didn’t last into my 30’s. At that point, my suspicion was on high alert so I switched to beer where I could open the bottle myself and ensure the contents hadn’t been tampered with. And my 40’s lead me to a civilized glass of wine instead. These days I’ll get my “drunk” from life itself and the sheer thrill and enjoyment of living it. I just like feeling like me at every given moment, so I can’t stand anything that alters my senses for any length of time at all. This is also why I turn down every pharmaceutical the doctor offers. When I feel like I want to alter my state of mind, I need only grab a pen and brush and make a little something. To me, that’s the best punch I could ever experience!
By the way, the name “punch” comes from the Persian panj, meaning “five” in honor of those original five ingredients. Which is not particularly useful to know, but could be something to impress someone next time you find yourself standing by a punch bowl and wondering what to say next. Or, like me in this moment, when you’re rambling through a blog post and realize there’s not really much more to say about punch. If any of you happen to have particularly memorable and awesome stories involving punch, please do share them in the comments below! I love hearing your stories as they remind me of things I forgot to write about in this post. But, I do have little flashbacks coming to me now of that early punch with kids running around screaming with glee. Yeah, it was way too much sugar, so they were hopped up in a crazy way, but there was just so much joy there. Anything in life that delivers a bit of joy is wonderful to me. So, though I may no longer find myself in situations that involve a bowl of this elixir, I love knowing that somewhere at this moment, young and old alike are running around screaming gleefully and enjoying a rather memorable punch day.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo. Photo Reference: Didriks. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!