Regency Punch

from "Rake's Progress", pages 116-118
by Marion Chesney
1987, St. Martin's Press, New York

"...Fetch me the ingredients for a punch."

... the landlord came up carrying a tray with two lemons, half a pint of rum, half a pint of brandy, a quarter of a pound of sugar, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a kettle of hot water and a large bowl.

"Would you like me to prepare it?" he asked, but Lord Guy waved him away.

Esther watched him prepare the punch, first rubbing the sugar loaves over the rind of the lemons until they were yellow. He appeared completely absorbed in his task...

He finished preparing the punch and handed her a glass. Esther sipped it cautiously, but it tasted sweet and tangy and remarkably innocent.