Rum Punch

Talk about a party drink, this will be a huge hit every time you make it. I made this for my wedding reception and I still get people asking me for the recipe! The brown sugar syrup is a revelation and is useful it basically any other cocktail. My recipe follows the old adage "one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak." I did reduce the strong (the rum) to 2 parts, but up it to 3 if you like.

To make this cocktail for a crowd is different from individual servings, but still simple. It is intentionally stronger and sweeter because it will be poured over ice and weaken as it sits in the cup. And juicing citrus is always a crap shoot, so buy a few more lemons and limes than you think you'll need just in case. Any extras can be cut up and used for garnish. Yields 2 generous servings (1 for me); the crowd recipe serves around 20.

Sour mix:

If you're unsure how much fruit you'll need for a couple of servings, start with 3 lemons and 6 limes.

  • 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
  1. Combine juices and keep in an airtight container until ready to use. 

Brown sugar syrup:

This mix-in keeps and it improves virtually every cocktail, so I recommend using no less than 1 cup as the base measurement.

  • 1 part dark brown sugar
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 1 part water
  1. In a pot, combine the sugar, salt, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature before using. Pour into a shallow pan or baking dish and stick in the freezer if you need it cool in a hurry.

Rum punch:

  • 1 ounce sour mix
  • 2 ounces brown sugar syrup
  • 2 ounces gold rum, not best quality
  • 4 ounces cold water
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters, optional
  • Ice
  • Cocktail shaker and strainer
  • Pinch freshly-grated nutmeg
  1. Combine the sour mix, brown sugar syrup, rum, water, bitters, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until the shaker is very cold. Strain into a glass with more ice. Garnish with a sprinkle of freshly-grated nutmeg.

For a crowd:

  • 2 pounds (about 10) lemons (to yield 2 cups juice)
  • 2 pounds (about 8 to 12) limes (to yield 1 cup juice)
  • 4  to 6 cups brown sugar syrup
  • 4 cups (32 fl oz) gold rum
  • 2 cups coconut rum
  • 20 dashes bitters
  • 2 star anise, optional
  • 4 cloves, optional
  • Ice
  • Big pitcher or beverage dispenser
  1. Juice the lemons first. You will need 2 cups of juice. Then juice the limes, you will need 1 cup of juice.
  2. In a pitcher or dispenser, combine the lemon juice, lime juice, 4 cups of the sugar syrup, both rums, bitters, spices, and two big handfuls of ice. Let sit for 10 minutes until the ice is mostly melted and the drink is cold.
  3. Taste and adjust to your liking for sweetness (I like it to be sweeter because it will be further diluted with ice), sourness, and strength. To serve, place a slice of lemon and/or lime in the bottom of a cup (if you have any left over), add ice, and pour punch over.