The Weekly Cocktail Recipe – Charles Dickens Hot Gin Punch

Photo: Daniel Lewis

By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food

Inspired by Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, this week’s cocktail recipe comes from Portobello Road Gin Master Blender Jake Burger. Just in time for Christmas, this hot gin punch takes time to make, but the effort certainly pays off as soon as the warming concoction touches your lips in the lead up to the festive season. Based on Dickens’ Mr Micawber’s guidelines given in David Copperfield, this drink features gin, madeira, brown sugar, lemons, and a selection of everybody’s favourite Christmas spices.


Makes around 6 medium sized wine glasses

Portobello Road gin, ½ bottle

Madeira, ¼ bottle

Boiling water

Brown sugar, 100g

Lemons, 3

Cinnamon, 1tsp

Clove, 1tsp

Nutmeg, 1tsp


Peel into a saucepan the rinds of three lemons, cut very thin, and with as little as possible of the white coating between the peel and the fruit, attached.

Add 100g of brown sugar, half a bottle of Portobello Road gin, quarter of a bottle of madeira, a teaspoon each of cinnamon and clove and grated nutmeg.

Simmer this on a low heat until it’s starting to bubble. Then squeeze in the juice of the three lemons being sure to extract the pips.

Stir the whole preparation well, cover it up for five minutes, and stir again. At this point you may taste. If not sweet enough, add sugar to your liking.

Sieve through a muslin cloth. This can be done many days in advance and stored in a bottle in the refrigerator, then heated in a saucepan as and when needed.

Serve in a heatproof glass or punch cup, being sure to warm the vessel before filling.

Dilute with an equal measure of boiling water.

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