Gallery: First Look: A Glass of Cocktail History at Punch House in Chicago

Garrick Club Punch
Garrick Club Punch

The Garrick Club Punch, a recipe from 1835, includes Luxardo maraschino, lemon, sugar, sparkling water, and Old Tom gin. "Old Tom gin is a guess of what gin they would've been using at the time," said Duncan. "The recipe calls for gin, but almost definitely, during that era, they would have been using what we call Old Tom."

What's up with the ships scattered around the room? "There are nautical references everywhere," explained Duncan. "Punch is a thing of the sea, it has maritime origins. British sailors traveling to India, borrowing techniques from the folks out there and using the recipes to stretch their rum rations and allow them to drink all day. That's the breeding ground where punch was created. So the fish tank and the fish and the ships around the room are all references to punch's maritime origins."

The Sanyal Punch
The Sanyal Punch

This punch, made with curried pisco, Darjeeling tea, pineapple, chili flake and citrus, was inspired by a coming together of cultures, just like the original punches. "I produced this for a friend of mine whose mother is Chilean and her father is from India. This punch joins those two heritages," explained Duncan.

This set of glassware, which commemorates the "War between the states" is one of Duncan's favorites. "Most of the glasses we found at thrift stores throughout three states. It's always a quest. I love antique shops and junk shops."

Space Juice for Jared
Space Juice for Jared

The Space Juice for Jared was named after a bartender at Empty Bottle. "We started road testing these punches at Empty Bottle. The bar manager over at Empty Bottle's name was Jared. He's a local folk hero. I couldn't come up with a name. Jared said 'Well, Man or Astro-Man are playing this weekend, so why don't we just call it Space Juice?'" The punch is made with Hacienda Mercado Reposado Tequila, Aperol, lime, black pepper, sparkling wine, and sage.

Milk Punch
Milk Punch
Brandy milk punch, when made by the 1711 classic recipe (not to be confused with creamy New Orleans milk punch) pours translucent. "The curds and whey are separated and only the whey remains," said Duncan. "What you end up with is an unctuously textured, velvety, much more viscous mouthfeel. It has a lactic quality, but most of what you taste is the brandy and lemon. I liken it to lemon meringue pie." The punch is topped with freshly grated nutmeg.
Dusek's Sign
Dusek's Sign
The outside of Dusek's Beer and Board, the upstairs restaurant. John Dusek was the original owner of Thalia Hall in the late 1890s, and the current owners are restoring the performance hall upstairs.