Dear readers who suffered through reading about a large batch (nine gallons) rum punch I made for a fundraiser last spring and the fallout from the ensuing “rumaway,” I bring you a much more manageable version of one of my favourite cocktails: the single-serving Rum Punch.
It’s strong but so yummy. And it’s not often you get to put nutmeg in a drink!
It was not my intention to blog about rum punch tonight — sometimes I worry I give Barbados’s No. 1 cocktail too many shout-outs. No, I had intended to create and then sample a different recipe entirely, a yummy-sounding number called It’s Fig’n Cold Outside. Appleton Estate sent me a bottle of the Appleton Estate Reserve along with a cute little recipe card for the fig drink. Sadly, they did not send me the star ingredient — fig juice — and it’s fig’n impossible to find it in Calgary (I tried Community Natural Foods and The Cookbook Co. No fig’n luck).
But that’s okay because I got excited thinking about trying the rum in my favourite rum drink. Besides, with nutmeg and Angostura bitters adding spice, I think this makes a great holiday cocktail. Blake and I sipped them after trimming the tree a couple weeks ago, and I think we’ll shake up a couple up on Christmas Eve. Just beware making a large batch for Christmas dinner unless you’re angling for a rumaway.
- 2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz Demerara sugar simple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Pinch nutmeg
Shake all ingredients with ice and then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Add another pinch of nutmeg as a garnish.
If you want to host a good mixer, serve up a large batch of rum punch. I recently did this for a school fundraiser and the party turned into a “rumaway.”
People drank the punch like water. They got wasted. One gal even puked! No, we aren’t a bunch of university revellers; we’re responsible adults — with kids even! But there’s just something about rum punch. It smells good, for starters, thanks to the nutmeg and Angostura bitters. It tastes good too, just as Mount Gay Eclipse rum mixed with brown sugar syrup and lime juice should. So there’s a danger folks will chug it, even though it’s strong.
Now that it’s garden party season it’s easy to whip up a big punch bowl of it — just make sure there’s a disclaimer next to the bowl. Something like, “Warning: this punch is really strong — it will get you drunk!”
This punch should only be consumed after reading the disclaimer: It will get you drunk.
Rum Punch (to mix in an 11-litre dispenser or bowl)
- 2 parts Mount Gay Eclipse rum (I used four 750-mL bottles)
- 1 part lime juice (I used 1.5 litres of Ready-Set-Serve lime juice by Markon)
- 1 part simple syrup (I used 1.5 litres I made myself, method below)
- 1/2 part water (about 750 mL) or to taste
- 25 heavy dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 tbsp. nutmeg
- Big ball of ice (method below)
Into a large punch bowl or dispenser gently place a round ball of ice to keep the punch cool without diluting it (fill a balloon with water, tie it off and freeze. Peel the balloon off and voila! Ice ball). Pour in the rum, lime juice, simple syrup, water, bitters and nutmeg. Stir everything together with a big spoon. Serve in a plastic cup — or rocks glass, if you’re fancy — packed with ice.
To make simple syrup, combine equal parts brown sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool and refrigerate.
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.