While it’s true that rum punch is the go-to cocktail in Barbados — it’s refreshing and served on ice — it also makes a mean sipper on cold winter evenings. The dark rum is belly warming and the nutmeg adds a winter spice we usually associate with warm drinks such as eggnog. As our friend declared on New Year’s Day (after I mixed up a pitcher), “I could drink 10 of these!”
This cocktail is so good, I bet you could drink 10!
When I was in Barbados in 2010 I must have tried at least 10 different rum punches. What I found is every establishment and Bajan has their own variation on ingredients and exact ratio. In fact, in two stories I wrote for up! magazine, I included two different recipes, one from John Moore Bar and one from Chesterfield Browne, the Mount Gay rum global ambassador. I have played around with my own recipe, however, which I will share with you now — hope you like it as much as I do!
Rum Punch a la Calgary
2 oz dark rum
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz simple syrup*
Dash Angostura bitters (or 1 or 2 more, to taste)
Shake all ingredients with ice then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
*To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and refrigerate up to one month.
Let’s ring in the new year with a bubbly cocktail, shall we? I love the Goodnight Kiss recipe from Drinks Mixer, except I make it with Prosecco, Italy’s more affordable answer to Champagne. Besides, the cocktail calls for a splash of Campari — an Italian bitter liqueur — so it seems another reason to use Prosecco. The best part of this drink is the sugar cube, though. Not only does it add a sweet kiss to the otherwise dry and slightly bitter sparkling sipper, it doubles as a garnish. Happy New Year!
Go easy on the bitters or this kiss will leave you with an unpleasant pucker.
4 oz Prosecco
1 sugar cube
1 drop Angostura bitters
Place a drop of Angostura bitters on a sugar cube and drop into a champagne flute. Add Prosecco and a splash of Campari.
— Recipe adapted from Drinks Mixer
If you have children, brace yourself for two weeks of sugared-up hyperactivity, toy mahem and general upheaval. To get your zen on in a hurry amid the chaos, try a Hot Toddy on an empty stomach. The nearly 3 0z of booze will immediately go to your head, and you won’t care that your kid is trying out his new Christmas gift marker set on the wall.
The Hot Toddy recipe I like is from Mount Gay Rum. It’s an undeniably festive holiday cocktail that tastes rather like a hot Sidecar, with just a subtle hit of Earl Grey tea. The cinnamon stick garnish is a nice touch. I guarantee that drinking one will bring your back to your Christmas happy place, where sugar plum fairies cavort with magical snowmen. If the holiday hijinks continue, sip another. You deserve it Mrs. Claus (you too, Santa)!
Christmas stressing you out? Bliss out with a Hot Toddy.
1 oz Cointreau
1-3/4 oz Mount Gay Rum
1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Blue agave nectar to taste
4 oz hot Earl Grey tea
Cinnamon stick garnish
Combine all ingredients in an Irish coffee glass, stirring briefly.