Hell-Fire Punch Recipe

Hell-Fire Punch

Named for the infamous Hellfire Club of 18th-century England, this complex punch packs some heat. The recipe is a speculative recreation devised by renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich, using ingredients that would have been available at the time (based partially on Benjamin Franklin’s description of the drink as a “divine milk punch”)—that said, there is a certain amount of artistic license taken here, and there’s no way to know for sure what the Hellfire Punch referenced in the club’s primary sources really would have entailed.


3 750-ml bottles Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1 750-ml bottle Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum
1 750-ml bottle Luxardo Sangue Moriacco Cherry Brandy
Zest of 16 lemons
2 lbs Demerara sugar
4 L warm water
500 ml fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 nutmegs, grated
1 tbsp powdered cayenne pepper
2 L milk, heated to a simmer

Preparation: How to make a Hell-Fire Punch

  1. Infuse cognac, rum, cherry brandy, and lemon zest for 24 hours.
  2. Dissolve Demerara sugar in warm water, then let cool and add to spirits.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. The milk will curdle; let sit for 1 hour, then strain through a fine cloth.
  5. Strain again, pouring liquid over retained curds.
  6. Bottle and refrigerate until residues have settled, then siphon, rebottle, and store at cellar temperatures for future use.
Hell-Fire Punch