Bob Crachit's Hot Gin Punch + The 12 Days of FORMA

Curating a holiday experience for your listening, reading, watching, and eating pleasure

Happy Saint Nicholas Day friends!

Here at FORMA we’re celebrating this feast day by launching the 12 Days of FORMA, a series of curated experiences for your Christmas celebrations. Over the next twelve days we’ll be sharing recipes inspired by food in great literary classics, lists of books and stories to add to your holiday celebrations, readings of wonderful Christmas-theme poems, our very own Christmas music playlist on Spotify, and more. Plus we’ll be giving away books and other things.

To participate, make sure you’re subscribed here at The FORMA Review and follow us on Instagram here. Scroll down for a list of the giveaways, but up first, here’s a recipe inspired by Bob Crachit’s Hot Gin Punch, from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s created by Sean Johnson, our associate editor. He went to culinary school so he knows what he’s doing.

Bob Crachit’s Hot Gin Punch

by Sean Johnson

Charles Dickens created few characters as humble as the Cratchits, but he also imbued them with the rare and saintly gift of conjuring rich festivity from the meagerest makings. All of the Cratchit family preparations for Christmas have an air of the miraculous about them, but none more than Bob’s Cana-like compounding of “some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons.” 

Mixing up this Hot Gin Punch was a favorite ritual of Dickens himself, according to his great-grandson, Cedric Dickens, who compiled the author’s detailed and rather copious notes on mixology into the charming Drinking With Dickens. I have altered the recipe slightly, specifying exact amounts for the wine and gin in place of Dickens’s “large measures,” and substituted ruby port where he originally calls for sweet madeira wine. Otherwise, this is the same frugal wonder Bob and his maker would have steaming on their hobs in late December. Cheers!


  • Juice of ½ a lemon

  • 1 cinnamon stick 

  • 1 clove 

  • 1 tspn brown sugar

  • 1 tspn honey

  • 2 oz ruby port (Dickens used sweet madeira)

  • 2 oz dry gin

  • grated nutmeg (garnish)


  1. To a mug add lemon, cinnamon, clove, sugar and honey 

  2. Fill mug 2/3 with boiling water.

  3. Add port and gin, stir.

  4. Finally, grate nutmeg over top and enjoy while it's still good and hot.

The Playlist

No Christmas party is complete without a great playlist, so we’ve curated our own. It’s a little bit jazzy (Duke Ellington does The Nutcracker, anyone?), a little bit classical (Mozart’s “Sleigh Ride” shows up), a little bit folksy (thanks to Johnny Cash), a little bit traditional (we’re not monsters). It’s a little bit fun, a little bit weird. Perfect for background music while chatting, snacking, reading, or cooking. Or writing all those Christmas cards on your typewriter. Check it out—and enjoy!

The Giveaways

Over the next twelve days, we will be giving away a number of great items, including one today. Here’s the schedule and the list:

December 6 - St. Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins, a beautiful picture book the whole family will enjoy. Hard to beat illustrations that beautiful, especially this time of the year.

December 9 - Digital stocking: A package of coupon codes to several booksellers’ online shops.

December 11 - A free subscription to our quaterly print edition

December 13 - A curated gift box. You tell us what your tastes are and we’ll surprise you with a box of movies and books.

December 16 - Digital stocking #2

To be entered, make sure you’re following on Instagram. We’ll give away two of each prize. That first giveaway is today, so head over and get your name on that list!

That’s all for now. Enjoy your Saint Nick’s Day.