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For a rainy day in London: The Buck’s Club Punch

If I asked you if you knew what the Buck’s Club is, would you know?   This venerable British Club stands in London, England.  Over the last hundred or so years, the Buck’s Club has sought to dispel the snobbish idealism that a “gentleman’s club” should be stuffy.

During the First World War, Captain H. J. Buckmaster RHG (sometimes “Herbert Buckmaster”, or erroneously “Maurice Buckmaster”) and some of his colleagues agreed that after the war it would be good to establish a gentlemen’s club that was somewhat less stuffy than those that currently existed. Indeed, they particularly wanted a club with an American Cocktail Bar, something then beyond the pale for most traditional gentlemen’s clubs.

The club was established in June 1919[2][3][4] and its American Bar was a focal point. American members were welcome although treated separately from a constitutional standpoint. The club for many years kept its tradition of sourcing members from the Household Cavalry regiments although its membership is now drawn from many walks of life.

The Club is probably best known for seeing the creation of the Buck’s Fizz cocktail in 1921 by its first bartender, Mr McGarry. (Barman from 1919 to 1941,[3] sometimes “Malachy McGarry” or “Pat McGarry”, or spelled “MacGarry”, he is also usually credited with creating the Sidecar cocktail).

Renowned for its exuberance and the youth of its membership, it receives three mentions in the stories of P. G. Wodehouse;[5] Wodehouse modeled in his fictional Drones Club after the Buck’s Club and the Bachelors’ Club, even naming his club’s barman “McGarry” too.

Some famous former members include Prime Minister Winston Churchill, politician Brendan Bracken, 1st Viscount Bracken, Sir Nigel Edward Seely, 5th Baronet, writer Guy Bolton, and actor Nigel Bruce.

I’ve created a fictional punch that I believe would bring the recently departed to their feet.  It uses the brilliant Watershed Gin from Ohio, a Cast Iron-charred Cherry muddle, Cinnamon Stick,  Chocolate dust, Bitter End Thai Bitters and Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Cardamom and Clove and hot water.

Of course the night would have to be the kind of cold and rainy night that makes the weather in London so famous!  Imagine sipping this hot punch in large ceramic cups, the rims dusted in chocolate, a muddle of fire toasted cherries in the bottom and a slurry of Asian influenced spices in the mid-range.  Of course there would have to be gin in this cocktail.  What good British cocktail doesn’t deserve a healthy portion of Gin?

Not on my watch!

The Buck’s Club Punch

Pre-preparation: Char about a pound or more of good Washington State Cherries in a cast iron pan until uniformly dark and blistered, set aside

Boiled filtered water for the punch- made with the Mavea Water Pitcher


Watershed Gin (from Ohio)

Cinnamon Sticks

Freshly grated nutmeg

Powdered Bitter-sweet chocolate 80% Bitter

Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Cardamom and Clove

Bitter End Thai Bitters

Boiling Water, first filtered through the exceptional Mavea Pitcher

Orange Pinwheels


Wet the lip of the (pre-heated) mug with lemon juice

Roll lip in bittersweet chocolate dust

Muddle the charred (pitted) cherries with some Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Cardamom and Clove

Add at least 3 oz of Watershed Gin.  Why so much?  You won’t feel anything but warm after enjoying one of these punches!

Fill to the rim with Mavea filtered water- heated to 200 degrees (just below the boil level, be careful!)

Scrape some nutmeg over the top

Stir with a cinnamon stick

Add four drops of the Bitter End Thai Bitters to finish and a pinwheel of orange



Florence von Pelet

Florence is a senior editor at Modenus.com. Aside from her natural passion for interiors, kitchens and baths Florence also leads the way on Modenus’ BlogTours around the world so please follow her on Twitter to get the latest information and inspiration about design trends from around the world.

  • http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/author/WBobrow/ Warren Bobrow

    If you are in a tropical climate, may I suggest using coconut water ice 50/50 with double boiled and cooled water- or perhaps water filtered through a Mavea pitcher?


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