Gnaden Fülle läßt seh’n

Hey, look there, it’s almost Christmas. For this year’s internet Christmas card, we’re bringing out the guitar for an easy (I can play it; ergo it is pretty easy), standard-tuning, fingerstyle arrangement of an old favorite. I have found that it is impossible to play fingerstyle guitar without gradually assuming a strangely equanimous persona. The equanimity doesn’t last, of course. But it’s nice to know that it’s in there somewhere.

Gruber (arr. Guerrieri): Silent Night (PDF, 60Kb)

Only a couple of clunkers in that performance! It probably would have been better had I been fueled up with this concoction, a holiday favorite in the early days of the Sunset Club of Los Angeles, according to the December 13, 1902 issue of The Capital:

The “Sunset Club Christmas Punch” is a more stalwart and insidious amalgamation of choice ingredients, and should be taken with respectful care by even robust partakers. The following are the constituents of this holiday specialty:

Four bottles of any fine brand of champagne.
Two bottles each of rum and brandy.
One gill of curaçao, or chartreuse.
One quart of black tea.
Four bottles of plain soda.
Lemon juice, sugar and fruits.

Mix the juice of six cured lemons with half a pound of crushed (or cube) sugar and then amalgamate with the tea, and stir for a few seconds. Then pour in the rum, and stir to a foam. Then the brandy and liqueur. Now, place a large cube of ice in the bowl and pour in the champagne and soda. Then place slices of two or three handsome uncured lemons and of four small oranges on the ice; and around it. Cubes of pineapple or banana slices, or both, may also be used. Serve in Roman punch cups.

A potent elixir to while away the hours while you’re waiting to see if that “peace on earth and goodwill to all” page is ever going to load. Safe holidays to everyone.


    1. Should add that the champagne bottles were, at the time, most likely quart bottles (32 ounces, a little bigger than the 750ml bottles that are now standard). The hard stuff would have been in fifth bottles (pretty close to 750ml). 1902 would have been in the midst of the brief-lived but thorough monopoly of Hutchinson-stopped bottles for soda water; our correspondent doesn’t specify, but the most common size of Hutchinson bottle was a half-pint (8 ounces). So a reasonable estimate: 4 quarts champagne, 1 1/2 quarts rum, 1 1/2 quarts brandy, 1 quart tea (with lemon and sugar), 1 quart seltzer, half-cup liqueur.

      1. Um, wow. Your knowledge of this stuff far, far outstrips mine.

        Also, that is enough punch to get everyone in the biggest party I have ever hosted so plastered they’d all have to sleep over.

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