It was a scorcher over the weekend, and we had a 3pm Little League game to attend in the park. The kids are happy just chasing the ball around, so I decided to do the parents a favor and bring a gallon of rum punch to share. Yeah, I’m that guy. I’d never made one before, but I’ve tasted quite a few, so I figured I’d dip into my not insubstantial rum collection and have a go at it. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back, but it turned out amazing, and I’m pleased to share the recipe with you. You can switch up the ingredients if you like, but the secret elixir that tied it all together was Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur.
The Sicilian liqueur was kind of a last-minute addition to the mix, but I remembered how a lot of punches and sangrias often benefit from the addition of a sweet liqueur or wine, like brandy, to bind it together. Since I didn’t have any brandy, I grabbed the Solerno, and it worked great. My rum punch was a huge hit at the park. I wandered among the blankets filled with bored parents, watching their eyes light up as I offered what I described as Caribbean-style rum punch. A few jumped at the offer immediately, which I respected. Others acted coy at first, giving me the old oh-I-shouldn’t act. I don’t have a lot of patience for that, so those who came around quickly had punch, and those who had the keep the charade going went thirsty. I’m not going to beg you to drink my rum punch.
But Mia’s dad J.P. is from Haiti, and he knows his rum. Even though he was coaching first base, he didn’t hesitate to reach out for that blue plastic cup, praising my rum punch up and down for its flavor, complexity, and balance. Plenty of others joined him, and my new Rubbermaid drink cooler was soon empty.
It would be a shame to keep this fine recipe a secret, so here you go. Experiment as you like, but I’m telling you, the Solerno brings all the other ingredients together in harmony. I’m calling it Cloud Nine, because it has nine ingredients: Four types of rum, four types of juice, and one liqueur. And you can tell people it represents three different Caribbean island, plus Sicily. The only way to make it better would be to squeeze your own juice, but I was pretty happy with my store-bought stuff, and heard no complaints.
1 1/2 Cup Bacardi 8 Rum (Puerto Rico)
1 1/2 Cup Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum (Barbados)
1 1/2 Cup Brugal Especial Cask Aged White Rum (Dominican Republic)
1 Cup Lola Belle Cherry-flavored Rum (Barbados)
3/4 Cup Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur (Sicily)
2 Cups Welch’s Orange/Pineapple/Apple Juice
1 1/2 cup Minue Maid Watermelon Juice Cocktail
Mix it all up in a 1-gallon water cooler, add ice to the top, grab a stack of cups, and go make some friends.
[Related: BlackBook New York Nightlife Guide; Get Ready for the Summer of Rum; More by Victor Ozols; Follow me on Twitter; Official sites for Bacardi rum, Mount Gay rum; Brugal rum; Lola Belle cherry rum; Solerno liqueur.]