Make Ahead

Rum Punch

December 19, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is as basic a punch recipe as you can get, and its basic ratio can be applied to any number of variations. It has nothing more than those 5 original ingredients, and requires no special technique other than mixing them together. The art comes in your choice of what to include. —Erik Lombardo

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups rum
  • 2 cups strong black tea
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 packet spices of your choice (see below)
  1. For spice, I like to use 2 cinnamon sticks, 8 black peppercorns, 1 star anise, 8 cloves, 4 cardamom pods, and 2 allspice berries.
  2. Brew your tea with your spices, let steep, and strain. Add the sugar in while the water is still hot, and stir to dissolve. Once it has cooled, mix the remaining ingredients together, adding the spirit last. If you like, you can grate spices over each glass at your party. (I like to leave a grater and spice right by the punch bowl/pitcher so that each guest can add however much or little as she likes.)
  3. This basic ratio can be applied to any number of punch variations: try a floral gin punch with meyer lemon and verbena tea in the springtime, or bourbon with bitter orange and mint when Seville oranges are in season. Change up the spices, spirits, tea and even the sugar source (honey or agave anyone?) to suit the season and your tastes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mark Hooper
    Mark Hooper
  • Erik Lombardo
    Erik Lombardo
  • Tamar
  • Todd Ellner
    Todd Ellner

9 Reviews

Mark H. March 27, 2016
When promoting a "punch," it is imperative to impress upon readers...and those hungry for learning the craft, what defines a punch. A Pimms Cup is all of these, but isn't a "punch."

A punch is comprised of these four 'general' ingredients:
1 - measure of Sour - Lime.
2 - measures of sweet - Sugar Syrup.
3 - measures of Strong - the Rum of YOUR choice.
4 - measures of weak - usually means water.

Even the very simplistic and delicate Ti Punch follows this rule with its composition. Just wanted to clarify this for the interest of readers. Someone may read your recipe and say, forget the lime juice, but let's add ginger syrup. Well, that is well and good...still a cocktail, but not a punch, by design.

In my area of crafting competency, a Mai Tai is at its essence a punch, but follow the recipe through to fruition, serving and imbibing, it is a complex cocktail, rather than a punch.

And the book "Punch" is a must have for the home bar library!

Tamar January 31, 2014
My father made a great Navy drink. Dark rum, splash of orange juice, tonic and squeeze of lime.
Todd E. December 24, 2013
Rumbum, according to "Punch" you don't want some clear or inoffensive amber colored clear spirit. For classic punch (hot, cold, tea, milk, whatever) you want high-proof, strong-tasting pirate juice with, as they say, "houtgout"
Rumbum December 23, 2013
The one thing that stands out in this recipe is the somewhat innocuous "rum" ingredient. Rum is one spirit that has many many faces. And if you were to add, let's say Smith and Cross Navy Strength, or, Lemon Hart 151, or.... Bacardi 8, or Bacardi white, your punch would be a very different cup of tea, or is that the art?
Erik L. December 25, 2013
You hit the nail on the head, 'That's the art'. For this particular rum punch I would recommend a jamaican rum, Smith & cross is a fnie choice but appleton v/x would be wonderful as well. For something richer and funkier try a 50/50 blend of Rhum Agricole and A good dark jamaican rum, I like Coruba. Make it your own, that's what is so great about punch!
Mark H. March 27, 2016
Why would you necessarily add an agricole to this mix of "straight-on" flavors?
Todd E. December 22, 2013
The definitive guide to Punch is "Punch: The Delights and Dangers of the Flowing Bowl". It includes all sorts of recipes for all sorts of traditional punches including tea punches and rum punches. There's one important step found in all the recipes which would improve your punch, the preparation of the oleo-saccharum. Zest the limes. Muddle the zest with the sugar for at least half an hour, twice that long if possible.
Erik L. December 25, 2013
Punch is indeed a fantastic book! I love making an oleo-saccharum for lemon based punches, but for lime based punches I agree with Wondrich and just skip the step all-together; the benefit of lime in a punch comes from the juice more than the aromatic oils, though I have made an intensly flavored lime oleo-saccharum when making house-made for homemade lime cordial (amazing by the way!).
Mark H. March 27, 2016
Hear, hear, Todd!!!