Join us as we raise our glasses to Charles Dickens, arguably the finest author in British history. Sure Shakespeare set the stage alight with his tales of love, war and mistaken identity yadiyadiya but Mr D gets our vote for putting Victorian London on the map. ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’, not to mention ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘A Tale of Two Citites’ – without his gritty observations we’d be devoid of at least half of the BBC’s costume dramas.
That’s why we recommend getting down to the Booking Office Bar at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel for its special Dickens Punch, created by the great wordsmith and named in his honour.
Its a simple enough recipe but a delicious one – we tasted it hot and cold and the winter warming blend of rum, cognac, sugar, lemon juice and water worked fantastically well in both guises. Go for a single serve at £8 or really celebrate Dickens’ bi-centenary with a party-sized bowl of punch for 12, priced £90.
If you’re too cold to go out, you can make it at home:
60z Demerara sugar cubes
400ml Myers Pineapple-infused rum
250ml Courvoisier VSOP
Juice of 3 lemons
1 litre of boiling water
In a heatproof bowl, combine the sugar, rum and cognac. Then carefully add heat to the mixture and allow the sugar to dissolve, then extinguish the flame. Add the lemon juice and boiling water and pour into a mason jar. Cover and allow to cool. Taste and serve, either hot cold. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.
Words to the wise from Mr Dickens himself:
“When Mr. Pickwick awoke next morning, there was not a symptom of rheumatism about him: which proves, as Mr. Bob Sawyer very justly observed, that there is nothing like hot punch in such cases: and that if ever hot punch did not fail to act as a preventative, it was merely because the patient fell into the vulgar error of not taking enough of it.”
– Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers (1836)
Booking Office, St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, Euston Road, NW1 2AR. T: 020 7841 3566. stpancrasrenaissance.co.uk