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The drink was brought to England from India by sailors and employees of the British East India Company in the early 17th century.
From there it was introduced into other European countries.
When served communally, the drink is expected to be of a lower alcohol content than a typical cocktail.
The term punch was first recorded in British documents in 1632.
At the time, most punches were of the wassail type made with a wine or brandy base.
But around 1655, Jamaican rum came into use, and the "modern" punch emerged.
By 1671, documents make references to punch houses.
Non-alcoholic varieties, which are especially given to children as well as adults who do not drink alcohol, typically include a mix of some fruit drink such as juice, water, and a sweetener like sugar. The non-alcoholic versions are typically served at highschool dances, churches, and other similar social occasions.
Commercial manufacturers distribute many types of "fruit punch" beverages. Despite the name, most brands contain only a small fraction of actual fruit juice, the major constituents being sugar or corn syrup, citric acid, and artificial flavors.
They are used either as soft drinks or nonalcoholic mixers.