Picon Punch | Original 1800s French Version

History Of The Picon Punch

If you have not heard of this it’s not surprising. It’s mostly made in the western side of the United States and is popular in parts of California and Nevada with large Basque immigrant populations. If you go to Basque areas in northern Spain they will have no idea what this is. Most of the histories I have found on this credit its creation to the Noriega Hotel in Bakersfield California. Although I think that was more just a cool story used by the hotel and I don’t think that’s the case. The earliest printed reference I can find of the Picon Punch is from the 1900 book “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender” by William Boothby of San Francisco, California. Its the first recipe listed in “miscellaneous and unclassified drinks” and is simply called an Amer Picon. The drink is labeled as already being a popular beverage in France, and that makes a lot more sense to me than it being invented in Bakersfield California during the end of the 19th century. The part I personally find most difficult to imagine was that a small hotel in Bakersfield was using grenadine before 1900.

The most popular red fruit syrup in the US prior to 1900 was raspberry syrup. William Boothby was actually the first American bartender to print recipes using grenadine. Grenadine first started being used in France and England around 1890, and in fact in his 1891 edition of the book, the Amer Picon cocktail does not use grenadine but orgeat instead. The change from orgeat to grenadine makes sense too with grenadines explosive popularity in France during that decade. Check out my grenadine article for its history and use in cocktails.

The hotel was founded in 1893 so that would have given them plenty of time to use Amer Picon before it stopped being imported to the US in 1920, but I don’t buy that it was invented there. The use of grenadine, and references to its recipe many years before its origin story says it was invented point to it being traditionally a French cocktail.

What Does The Picon Punch Taste Like

I will say making the change to using grenadine instead of orgeat was the right choice. The drink is still good but the later grenadine version is noticeably better. While the grenadine version is kinda like an herbal pomegranate flavored soda, this one has a nutty flavor that doesn’t balance the herbal flavors as well as the fruity grenadine does. If the nuttier flavor sounds better to you though, then try this one. Keep in mind this is just one persons opinion.

Amer Picon is still not imported into the US so this is made now with substitutes. Also too Amer Picon isn’t made the same today as it was during the turn of the century. The alcohol content is different and so is the flavor. It use to be around 40% abv and today its 18% and the flavor has been updated for modern palates, so basically its a completely different ingredient other than the name. You’ll never be able to completely recreate this drink in its original for so just find a bittersweet/orange-y aperitif you like. Even if you get an actual bottle of Amer Picon from France, it won’t taste like old Amer Picon anyway.

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Picon Punch | Original 1800s French Version

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: French
Servings

1

servings
Calories

227

kcal
ABV

15%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic 1800s style Picon Punch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Orgeat

  • 2 oz Amer Picon

  • 2 oz Soda Water

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except for the soda water into the serving glass with ice.
  • Stir and combine those ingredients together while also chilling them.
  • Lastly add the soda water.

Notes

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Picon Punch Strong- Improved Classic Picon Punch

History Of The Picon Punch

If you have not heard of this it’s not surprising. It’s mostly made in the western side of the United States and is popular in parts of California and Nevada with large Basque immigrant populations. If you go to Basque areas in northern Spain they will have no idea what this is. Most of the histories I have found on this credit its creation to the Noriega Hotel in Bakersfield California. Although I think that was more just a cool story used by the hotel and I don’t think that’s the case. The earliest printed reference I can find of the Picon Punch is from the 1900 book “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender” by William Boothby of San Francisco, California. Its the first recipe listed in “miscellaneous and unclassified drinks” and is simply called an Amer Picon. The drink is labeled as already being a popular beverage in France, and that makes a lot more sense to me than it being invented in Bakersfield California during the end of the 19th century. The part I personally find most difficult to imagine was that a small hotel in Bakersfield was using grenadine before 1900.

The most popular red fruit syrup in the US prior to 1900 was raspberry syrup. William Boothby was actually the first American bartender to print recipes using grenadine. Grenadine first started being used in France and England around 1890, and in fact in his 1891 edition of the book, the Amer Picon cocktail does not use grenadine but orgeat instead. The change from orgeat to grenadine makes sense too with grenadines explosive popularity in France during that decade. Check out my grenadine article for its history and use in cocktails.

The hotel was founded in 1893 so that would have given them plenty of time to use Amer Picon before it stopped being imported to the US in 1920, but I don’t buy that it was invented there. The use of grenadine, and references to its recipe many years before its origin story says it was invented point to it being traditionally a French cocktail.

This is not the classic Picon Punch but a strong variation served without ice in a cocktail glass. Both the classic and this version are very good but they have different intents. This strong version transforms the refreshing Picon Punch into a classic style cocktail.

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Picon Punch Strong- Improved Classic Picon Punch

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

227

kcal
ABV

23%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a Picon Punch Strong.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Grenadine

  • 2 oz Amer Picon

  • 2/3 oz Brandy

  • 1 oz Soda Water

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except for the soda water in a separate mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir and combine those ingredients. Pour into the serving glass.
  • Lastly add the soda water.

Notes

    u003cliu003eTools Used: u003ca data-eafl-id=u002213289u0022 data-eafl-text=u0022Mixing Glassu0022 href=u0022https://amzn.to/3Dv2Kgfu0022 class=u0022eafl-linku0022u003eMixing Glassu003c/au003e, u003ca data-eafl-id=u002213188u0022 data-eafl-text=u0022Jiggeru0022 href=u0022https://amzn.to/3sAaUhuu0022 class=u0022eafl-linku0022u003eJiggeru003c/au003e, u003ca href=u0022https://amzn.to/3cUnHWcu0022 data-eafl-id=u002213481u0022 data-eafl-text=u0022Straineru0022 class=u0022eafl-linku0022u003eStraineru003c/au003eu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eServing Glass: u003ca data-eafl-id=u002213191u0022 data-eafl-text=u0022Coupe Glassu0022 href=u0022https://amzn.to/3wVnBXNu0022 class=u0022eafl-linku0022u003eCoupe Glassu003c/au003eu003c/liu003e

Picon Punch | 1900s Grenadine Variation

History Of The Picon Punch

If you have not heard of this it’s not surprising. It’s mostly made in the western side of the United States and is popular in parts of California and Nevada with large Basque immigrant populations. If you go to Basque areas in northern Spain they will have no idea what this is. Most of the histories I have found on this credit its creation to the Noriega Hotel in Bakersfield California. Although I think that was more just a cool story used by the hotel and I don’t think that’s the case. The earliest printed reference I can find of the Picon Punch is from the 1900 book “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender” by William Boothby of San Francisco, California. Its the first recipe listed in “miscellaneous and unclassified drinks” and is simply called an Amer Picon. The drink is labeled as already being a popular beverage in France, and that makes a lot more sense to me than it being invented in Bakersfield California during the end of the 19th century. The part I personally find most difficult to imagine was that a small hotel in Bakersfield was using grenadine before 1900.

The most popular red fruit syrup in the US prior to 1900 was raspberry syrup. William Boothby was actually the first American bartender to print recipes using grenadine. Grenadine first started being used in France and England around 1890, and in fact in his 1891 edition of the book, the Amer Picon cocktail does not use grenadine but orgeat instead. The change from orgeat to grenadine makes sense too with grenadines explosive popularity in France during that decade. Check out my grenadine article for its history and use in cocktails.

The hotel was founded in 1893 so that would have given them plenty of time to use Amer Picon before it stopped being imported to the US in 1920, but I don’t buy that it was invented there. The use of grenadine, and references to its recipe many years before its origin story says it was invented point to it being traditionally a French cocktail.

What Does The Picon Punch Taste Like

This is a uniquely refreshing, lightly sweet, fruity and herbal cocktail. It’s a lot of flavors that don’t really sound like they should work together but they do. It’s kinda like an herbal pomegranate flavored soda but it’s hard to describe and is one you really just need to try. While the garnish can be important in cocktails (Some are purely decorative) it is essential in this cocktail. The lemon oil on top took this cocktail from being just ok to being actually really good. Also the Aperitif you use makes a huge difference so get one you like to drink straight. I used Amaro Nonino and it turned out great, but Amaro Nonino is pretty pricey so if there is another one you like then give that a try.

A substitute aperitif has to be used because Amer Picon is not imported into the US, and has not been since prohibition. Also too Amer Picon isn’t made the same today as it was during the turn of the century. The alcohol content is different and so is the flavor. It use to be around 40% abv and today its 18% and the flavor has been updated for modern palates, so basically its a completely different drink other than the name. You’ll never be able to completely recreate this drink in its original form so just find a bittersweet/orange-y aperitif you like.

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Picon Punch – 1900s Grenadine Variation

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

227

kcal
ABV

15%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a Picon Punch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Grenadine

  • 2 oz Amer Picon

  • 2 oz Soda Water

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except for the soda water into the serving glass with ice.
  • Stir and combine those ingredients together while also chilling them.
  • Lastly add the soda water.
  • Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.

Notes

Brooklyn Cocktail | Classic Pre-Prohibition Cocktail

As Biggie-Smalls said “Where Brooklyn At?! Where Brooklyn At?!” Well if your looking for the Brooklyn cocktail then its right here, but this drink could easily have been lost and forgotten. Unfortunately this drink was never as popular as its’ other New York cocktail buddies the Manhattan or Bronx, and once prohibition came along history mostly forgot about the Brooklyn.

The main reason people probably stopped making it is one of the main ingredients, Amer Picon, stopped being imported into the United States a long time ago. It is still manufactured but can only be purchased in Europe. Amer Picon is a kind of an herbaly, orangy, bitter/sweetish digestive bitter. I really wanted to include this cocktail so in place of Amer Picon you can try using Amaro Nonino. At about 50 clams a bottle so it’s pretty pricy but at least it can be purchased.

As a side note if you live outside the USA then none of this substitution stuff matters but I think around 80-85% of my users live in the US so that’s the audience I try to write a bit more to.

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Brooklyn Cocktail | Classic Pre-Prohibition Cocktail

3 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

181

kcal
ABV

35%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Brooklyn Cocktail. An amazing pre-prohibition cocktail that is all but forgotten since the loss of Amer Picon in the United States.

Ingredients

  • 3 dashes Amer Picon

  • 1 tsp Maraschino Liqueur

  • 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 2 oz Brandy

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes