Old-fashioned Grape Punch Beverage

grape punchin glass

There are very few pictures in hundred-year-old cookbooks and magazines. As a result, the few photos suggest which recipes the authors or editors considered the most enticing. So when I saw a photo with a pitcher of Grape Punch in a 1922 magazine that looked awesome, I decided to give it a try.

ingredients to make grape punch
Source: American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

The Grape Punch contains grape juice, lemon juice, and orange juice with cucumber peel (rind). I’ve previously had cucumber infused water which I associate with spas and hotel lobbies (and healthy eating), so was intrigued by the inclusion of cucumber in this recipe – though it called for the use of the peel rather than slices of cucumber which seemed a bit odd.

The verdict: The Grape Punch was tasty with lovely citrus undertones and the added smoothness of cucumber.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Grape Punch
Source: American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

I thought that 1 cup of sugar seemed like a lot, so used less. And, I was surprised how attractive thin slices of cucumber peel looked in the punch.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Grape Punch

  • Servings: 10 - 14
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 quart (4 cups) grape juice

1 cup sugar (If desired, use less sugar.)

juice of 4 lemons (about 1 cup lemon juice)

juice of 6 oranges (about 1 1/2 cups orange juice)

1 quart (4 cups) water

1 large cucumber (peel only)

Mix grape juice and sugar together. Add lemon juice, orange juice, and water; stir.

Peel cucumber thinly. (I used a vegetable peeler.) Cut peel into 2-4 inch pieces, then add to the Grape Punch. Chill, then serve.



Old-fashioned French Chocolate (Hot Chocolate with Coffee and Brandy)


French Chocolate (Hot Chocolate with Coffeee and Brandy_

Sometimes recipe names change across the years, but the recipe is classic – and works just as well today as it did a hundred years ago. An example, of this is a recipe for French Chocolate that I found in a hundred year old cookbook. French Chocolate is hot chocolate with coffee and brandy.

A steamy cup of French Chocolate topped with whipped cream is the perfect warmer-upper on cold winter days.

Here’s the original recipe:

French Chocolate Recipe
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1921 Edition)

A Dover egg beater is a rotary egg beater.  Maybe they still sell them, but I haven’t seen one in years, so I whisked the French Chocolate to make it foamy.

I’m always fascinated when I see alcohol in recipes in 1921 cookbooks, since this was during prohibition. I’m not quite sure where cooks were supposed to find the brandy that the recipe called for.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

French Chocolate (Hot Chocolate with Coffee and Brandy

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups milk

1/4 cup ground coffee

2 tablespoons sugar

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/2 cup hot water

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brandy

whipped cream

Put the milk and ground coffee in a saucepan; stir to combine. Using medium heat, heat while stirring constantly until the milk mixture is scalded, and hot and steamy, Remove from the heat and strain to remove coffee grounds.

In the meantime, put the sugar, melted unsweetened chocolate, and water in another saucepan; stir to combine. Using medium heat bring to a boil while stirring constantly; then reduce heat and continue boiling and stirring for 2 minutes.

Gradually, add the strained milk and coffee mixture to the chocolate mixture while stirring. If needed, reheat until very hot, then remove from heat. Stir in salt and brandy. Beat with beaters or a whisk for a few seconds to make foamy. Pour into cups, and top with whipped cream.

Raspberry Nectar Recipe

Glass of Raspberry Nectar

It’s so much fun to go to “pick-your-own” berry farms, but I always pick lots of berries and end up searching for new recipes to use them. Yesterday, I picked some lovely red raspberries, and was pleased when I found a hundred-year-old recipe for Raspberry Nectar. It’s a winner.

The Raspberry Nectar contains both red raspberry juice and lemon juice so the nectar was fairly tart with the delicate essence of raspberry. My husband said that it looked like Kool-Aid – but once we tasted the Raspberry Nectar, we immediately knew that there was no comparison.  Raspberry Nectar has the rich nuanced taste of the fresh fruits,  and is refreshing on a hot summer day.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Raspberry Nectar
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I’m surprised that the old recipe indicates that the serving size is only 3 1/2 ounces. Somewhere I have some very small juice glasses that I got as a shower gift many year ago – and they may have been about this size. The small serving size makes we wonder if the recipe author considers Raspberry Nectar to be a breakfast drink. Both raspberries and lemons are chock-full of vitamin C, so it would be a good substitute for orange juice. That said, I served this drink mid-afternoon over ice; and, it was a nice change from my usual summer drinks (iced tea and lemonade).

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Raspberry Nectar

  • Servings: 3 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup red raspberry juice (Can be made with about 1 1/2 pints red raspberries)

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 tablespoons sugar

1 3/4 cups water

To make the red raspberry juice, put the red raspberries in a bowl and mash with a fork. Put the pulp in a strainer and strain to get the juice. Set the juice aside.

Combine the lemon juice, sugar, and water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved; then add the raspberry juice and stir to combine. Chill and serve.


Old-fashioned Eggnog

glass of eggnogEggnog is one of my favorite holiday drinks, so I decided to make a hundred-year-old eggnog recipe to see how it compared with the modern version. The old recipe made a lovely eggnog that had a hint of vanilla and nutmeg. It was less sweet and thinner than the typical modern eggnog – but, in my opinion, that was a good thing.

Eggnog is considered very festive today, so I was surprised to find the old recipe for it in a 1920 home economics textbook, in a chapter titled “Illness in the Home.”  Back then it was common for cookbooks and textbooks to include a chapter on cooking for invalids – and eggnog was considered a nutritious, easy to eat and digest food for someone who was sick.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Eggnot
Source: Household Arts for Home and School (Vol. II) (1920) by Anna M. Cooley & Wilhelmina H. Spohr

This recipe makes one fairly small serving. A hundred years ago, it was probably served in an 8-ounce (1 cup) glass.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:


  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 egg (I used a pasteurized egg.)

1 teaspoon sugar

dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup milk

dash of ground nutmeg (or grate a small amount of whole nutmeg) (optional)

Put egg in a small mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla; then gradually add the milk while continuing to beat. Strain, and pour into a glass. If desired, sprinkle or grate a little nutmeg on top. Serve at once.