A great and timely Christmas present is Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl (Perigree) written by spirits historian and archivist David Wondrich. Punch chronicles the history and development of, well, Punch, particularly the alcoholic variety which was particularly popular in Europe from the 1600's well into the 1800's. Mr. Wondrich mentions that in nearly every significant account of day to day life in the 18th and 19th century there are mentions of Punch at some point. Many of the great English language authors (Defoe, Byron, Coleridge, Dickens) made reference to it in their work.
Mr. Wondrich's book also traces the eventual downfall in Punch's popularity mainly having to do with the lack of large amounts of free time that could be devoted to enjoying punch at a leisurely pace. If Punch makes a comeback there is no doubt that Mr. Wondrich's book will have a lot to do with it; perhaps this is the next frontier for mixology geeks since the antiquarian cocktail revival might be moving into a new phase. There are plenteous punch recipes in this work and most are complicated and fussy enough recipe wise to be gratifyingly challenging to a cocktail geek.