Said out loud, the rough recipe for Trinidadian rum punch hints at the rhythm of the Caribbean: One sour. Two sweet. Three strong. Four weak. A dash of bitters. A sprinkle of spice. Served well chilled, with plenty of ice. An easy-drinking cocktail, this punch gets its deep notes from punchy lime and woodsy-sweet nutmeg. Like many spirits of yesteryear, Caribbean rum tells a greater story — of colonialism and sugar plantation slavery, as well as the enterprise of the West Indian people. In this big-batch recipe, the complex flavors bloom into a bright, expressive libation that truly goes the distance.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 1 ½cups light or dark brown sugar
- 2 ½cups good dark Caribbean rum (such as Ten to One)
- 4teaspoons Angostura bitters
- 2teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (from about 1 whole nutmeg seed), plus more for garnish
- 3cups ice, plus more for serving
- Lime slices, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Make a brown sugar simple syrup: Add the brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups water to a small saucepan. Stir to combine, then heat over medium and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. (Makes about 2 1/2 cups.)
Step 2While the simple syrup is simmering, juice the limes into a large bowl until you have 2 cups lime juice and pulp. Add 1 3/4 cups of the simple syrup, plus the rum, bitters and nutmeg; stir to combine.
Step 3Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the punch into a large pitcher. Add 3 cups ice and stir until most, if not all, of the ice has melted and the pitcher is cool to the touch. (Taste the punch at this point and, if desired, add more simple syrup or lime juice.) If not serving right away, refrigerate up to 2 days.
Step 4Serve in ice-filled rocks glasses. Garnish with grated nutmeg or a lime slice, or both.