Prior to my honeymoon in the Southern Caribbean near the turn of the millennium, I'm not sure I had ever tasted a rum punch. During the island tours, I quickly became accustomed – and fond – of this Caribbean staple. It seemed like no lunch, tour, swim, museum visit, or mountain hike started or finished (or started and finished) without being offered a glass. If I had known then that rum punch recipes were so divergent, I would have pressed a local for their secret.
"Classic" rum punch recipes range from having bitters, simple syrups, fruit punch, and/or sodas. I found many recipes that called for orange juice, but all of my iterations attempting to recreate the Southern Caribbean variation fell short. To be sure, the key ingredient is the use of high quality Caribbean dark rum. In my opinion, no better rum exists that the ones made at Mount Gay. Their rum is so good you could mix it in your Bacardi to make it taste better. My next major breakthrough came when I abandoned orange juice and instead used guava and mango nectars. Eureka!
Many years removed, I honestly don't know how close this recipe is to that once familiar Southern Caribbean drink. My recipe is unique and tasteful though, so please enjoy my interpretation of the rum punch.
Southern Caribbean Rum Punch (Tribute)
2 11.3 oz cans guava nectar
1 11.3 oz can mango nectar
1 11.3 oz can "bartender's choice" nectar (any flavor; I suggest an orange blend, banana blend, or another mango)
1 6 oz can pineapple juice
2 tbsp lime juice
½ cup canned coconut cream (e.g. Coco Lopez), stir well before measuring
Mount Gay Sugar Cane Rum (or other dark Caribbean rum)
Sweetened coconut flakes
Lime wedge (optional)
Combine coconut cream, pineapple juice, lime juice, and nectars in a blender (note: some of the nectars can be left out if pitcher is full). Blend until coconut is well mixed (several 2 second pulses should do it). Pour into a large pitcher. Add any remaining juices (if some were left out of the blender). Mix well. Serve or cover and refrigerate (can be prepared a day ahead).
Fill a 12 ounce glass with ice. Pour a shot of rum over the ice. Top the glass off with the punch mix and stir. Garnish with a pinch of coconut flakes, ground nutmeg, and a few drops of lime juice or a lime slice. Salud!