The Story of Savannah's Legendary Knockout Punch

Savannah's storied brew is stronger and smoother than you'd expect. 

No true celebration is complete without a little extravagance. And there is no extravagance greater than the Chatham Artillery Punch, called “killer of time” and “vanquisher of men” by those who have dared drink one too many. While locals debate its origin, they can agree on one thing: it’s deceptively smooth. 

The Shrimp Factory, located on River Street, claims to concoct the truest original recipe at their full service bar. Joel Teston pours a glass of the peach-colored elixir as he explains just what gives the juice its power. 

“It’s got seven different kinds of booze,” he says. “Wine, rum, gin, brandy, whiskey, champagne and a French liqueur.”

The Chatham Artillery is Georgia’s oldest military organization on record. Legend has it that when they welcomed President James Monroe into Savannah in May 1819, their wives threw together the large-batch beverage in a horse bucket to sate the many attendees. One by one, members of the Artillery are said to have snuck in and added various liquors to the batch, creating the notorious libation we know today. 

Teston likes to joke about a different take on the beloved punch’s history, one in which Major General of the Union Army William T. Sherman spared Savannah from attack. 

Whether or not Chatham Artillery Punch is responsible for saving Savannah from obliteration, one thing is clear: the concoction can do some destruction of its own. The taste is impeccably easy on the palate, thanks to the weeklong aging process, something that mellows the flavor, but amps up the impact. 

A word to the wise, though – either drink ‘em slowly, or clear your schedule for the next day. You’ll be glad you did. 


"The reason Sherman didn't burn down the city was because he was too drunk," he says, laughing."


To get the Chatham Artillery Punch recipe and more, subscribe now or pick up the February/March issue of South Magazine.