Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Try Something Different: Summer Rum Punch

On this blog, we try to keep a good mix between the sacred, the ecclesiastical, and the secular. In the latter category, we strive for a balance between politics, philosophy, news and humor (including satire). And every now and then there is further leavening added to the mix, such as a post about summer food or drink.

This is one of the latter -- herewith is your basic recipe for the Curmudgeon's summer rum punch. It is guaranteed to make the dog days of summer more bearable, without making you regret trying it out. (Those who think that "punch" should mean "knockout" should leave this page and try the original Zombie recipe -- at least, it is "original" as near as one today can tell.) This punch recipe was developed, and then tried and tested, during many days of tending bar as an undergraduate -- before going before the bar as a career.


One heavy-duty, leveraged juice squeezer (recommended model) -- but if all you have is a glass reamer, that's all right: just prepare for lots of wrist action, and for a strainer/sieve to separate out the seeds (but not the pulp, which makes the drink).

One standard bar jigger, with a 1-oz. cup on top, and a 1 1/2-oz. cup on the bottom. Or if you prefer to use a tablespoon, remember that 1 tbs = 1/2 oz, so that you need two tbs to make an ounce, and three to make 1 1/2 oz.

A cocktail shaker, which can be either the fancy stainless steel kind, or else a simple one-quart Mason jar with self-sealing lid.

A set of sturdy 12 to 16-oz tumblers -- you want thick glass, so the ice in the drink doesn't melt too fast.


3 Valencia oranges (never, ever use Navel oranges!)

2 Lemons

2 Limes

~1 1/2 oz. (to taste) Grenadine syrup - the idea is to keep the drink refreshingly tart, and not too sweet.

3 oz. Meyers Original Dark Jamaican Rum (no substitutes! This is the one essential rum to make this drink.)

2 oz. spiced rum (Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry's, or one I especially like: Kraken's Black Spiced Rum)

2 oz. light rum (Bacardi Gold, or if you want a stronger flavor, try 1.5 oz of Appleton's or Mt. Gay, or -- for those who want to support Haiti's recovery, 1.5 oz of Haitian Rhum Barbancourt - 3-star is fine)

Chilled seltzer or soda water

Fresh mint sprigs

An endless supply of cracked/shaved ice, and sufficient leisure time


Squeeze all citrus fruit (limes first, then lemons, and finally oranges, due to the increasing pulp) into the cocktail shaker/Mason jar; add the grenadine to make a pleasant balance (not too sweet) with the citric acid, and to give a pleasing orange-pink tint to the mixture. You will have at this point (depending on the juiciness of the fruit) a bit shy of 24 oz. (3 cups) of mix.

Next add the rums, adjusting the spiced rum according to strength of flavor, and the light rum according to desired finish. You should end up with just about a quart. Shake the mixture to blend it, or just stir it with a spoon, before mixing each individual drink. Keep unused mix in the refrigerator.

Take a 12- to 16-oz tumbler and fill to the brim with cracked/shaved ice.

Add soda/seltzer water to 1/3 of the total volume of the ice-filled glass. (This element is essential if you want to avoid having too strong an effect all at once, and be able to enjoy the long summer afternoons. Those who want to stretch it out even more could fill their glasses up to one-half full with soda/seltzer water. Those who skip the soda water are on their own, and should have a designated driver/carekeeper.)

Top with rum/citrus punch mixture, add mint leaves as a garnish, an optional straw, stir, and serve.

Those who like an extra "punch", and who disdain straws, may float (using the back of a teaspoon) some Bacardi 151-proof rum on the top of the drink, to taste.

Obviously, the individual's final recipe will be based on the achievement of a perfect balance between the rum flavors, the citrus bite, and the seltzer tingle. Experiment as indicated above, while keeping within the basic overall proportions, while managing to enjoy the afternoon without overdoing it, and without having cause for regret in the morning.

Sit back on the deck, sip, and enjoy! Summer doesn't get any better than this!


  1. We need these over here in North Texas. It would relieve the pain of the heat wave that we are in. We are approaching and will most likely surpass the record of 42 100F or hotter days in a row. I may have to buy the rums and try this. I may substitue Cruzan for the Barbadian.

  2. Cruzan would indeed be a fine substitute as the third rum, BillB. Moreover, if you're buying the rums anyway, the recipe works to make bigger batches, such as for parties: double the citrus to 6 oranges, 4 lemons and 4 limes, etc. to make about 2 quarts. (But then you will definitely appreciate having a power juice squeezer!)

  3. Esteemed Sir: It has been noted already that there are occasions when we agree on something. We agree on Rum.

    The Rum Punch sounds wonderful.

    However, I am occasionally a purist (not a puritan) and believe rum is best served on ice, no additives or other niceties. Of course this only works with good Rum. My choice is Barbancourt Rum from Haiti.

    I argue with my good friend Yvan Francois about the virtues of five star as opposed to three star. I am a three star man, just as I am a Jim Beam burbon man. The high priced stuff is OK, but too thick, too sticky. Three star is the stuff of life.

    My experience is that several small glasses of this on ice and the mosquitos visit elsewhere, the evening breeze is finer, and the joys of life are, well, more joyful.

    So, Rum Punch, yes....but dear friend, do not forget the pure joy of good Hatian Rum.

    Yr Servant, M.