Caribbean Rum Punch

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Caribbean Rum Punch

Want to make a big pitcher of punch for cookout guests? This Caribbean punch is sweet and smooth and just right for hot summer days. During one of our trips to the Caribbean, we sampled a number of rum punches and asked everyone we met how they made theirs. After lots of sampling and trial and error, we formulated a luscious recipe.

Barbados, hidden beach
Barbados, hidden beach

The secret is to use juices you'd find on Caribbean islands, like papaya and guanabana. They may be easier to find than you think! Check your grocery store's canned fruit juice aisle. The authentic touch is the fresh cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon - the native plants that give the Caribbean islands the nickname "The Spice Islands".

St. Lucia, fishing boat
St. Lucia, fishing boat

Make it up a few hours before serving, and keep stirring while you serve it, as the heavier spices tend to settle on the bottom. Serve with plenty of ice. In our experience, it's better not to make it too strong, since it goes down quick and easy on a hot summer day.

There's a traditional island song that celebrates rum punch (Planter's Punch), and will help you remember how to make it without a recipe. In Barbados, they say, "One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak." The best rum punch we had, though was on a visit to Roseau, Domenica after tubing down the Layou  River. When we asked about the recipe, our host showed us the prickly green soursop fruit and sliced open a papaya so we could take some fresh slices with our drink. Tasty.

Every time the neighbors get together in the summer, we bring a couple of pitchers of this punch. Our downstairs neighbors have traveled all around the Caribbean, like us, and they say this was the best punch they ever had. Win.


1 cup lime juice
2 cups cold simple syrup (1 cup of sugar dissolved in one cup of hot water)
3 cups amber or dark rum
2 cups orange juice
1 cup guanabana (soursop) or pineapple juice
1 cup mango or papaya juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
Fruit slices, for garnish


Stir together all ingredients. Let it chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. Pour over ice in tall glasses and garnish with fruit slices. A pretty straw is highly recommended.

Makes about 20 4-oz servings.


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