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curiousKC | Reviving Mrs. Truman’s Famous Fruit Punch Recipe

Legendary Local Recipe, Rum Optional

Mrs. Truman's Famous Fruit Punch
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Bess Truman, President Harry Truman’s wife, was a big fan of punch, socializing and Stephenson’s Apple Farm Restaurant in Independence.

“She ordered this one for Mr. Truman’s thank you parties we catered at the Truman Library,” reads an old Stephenson’s menu under the drink, dubbed “Mrs. Truman’s Famous Fruit Punch.”

Mrs. Truman's Fruit Punch Recipe.
Mrs. Truman’s Fruit Punch recipe.

A curiousKC reader submitted the following inquiry: “What is the recipe for Mrs. Truman’s Famous Punch from Stephenson’s restaurant? It had little apple squares floating in it.”

We were unable, after many attempts, to get the original restaurant recipe from family members. But social media may have saved the day. After reaching out to a local Facebook group page, someone sent us a photo of a recipe entitled just that in an old Bess Truman recipe book.

The late food writer Charles Ferruzza, reviewing the restaurant for The Pitch in 2002, quoted a server acknowledging that Mrs. Truman’s Famous Fruit Punch included “lots and lots of rum,” so we added it to the recipe we found. We even found a local distiller in Independence that makes rum not far from where Stephenson’s used to be located! It’s pretty delicious as well. 

So go dust off that old punch bowl and check out the attached video as we revive this recipe!

Mrs. Truman’s Famous Fruit Punch Recipe (¼ of original recipe)

  • ½ cup lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 3 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 2 cups White Rock club soda
  • 4 cups of water (we found this unnecessary, maybe it was meant to be ice.)
  • ½ cup white grape juice
  • Sugar to taste

Here’s how we modified the recipe we found.

  • 1 cup of rum (or more, depending on your preference)
  • Add block of ice
  • Slice apple into squares and add

Cheers!

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