Drinking from a communal bowl goes back to the origins of human history. The English word “punch” dates back almost 375 years and interestingly describes a specific type of drink, not just the practice of mixing liquids or serving it in a communal bowl.
In England, punch became the first big drink craze based on a distilled spirit. The drink was brought back from India, an English colony at the time. Many believe that the word punch has its origins from the Hindi word for “five” because punch was always made with 5 ingredients: distilled spirits, water, citrus fruit, sugar and spices. Over time punch recipes have varied and been refined to today where a punch can be as simple a mixture as vodka, juice and ginger ale.
Surprisingly, the cocktail that may most resemble the original punch taste and flavor profile is a popular favorite – the gin and tonic.
Source: The Chuck Cowdery Blog, February 2017