As many of you know, my parents were born in Barbados. They each had 6 kids in their family, so I have lots of aunts and uncles and LOTS of cousins. My oldest uncle was Francis Edwin Wood Goddard (1916-1994). Great guy. My mom's father was Francis Wood Goddard (1890-1977). Wonderful guy. His father was Edwin Alleyne Goddard (1853-1943). Beats me what kind of guy he was, but I'm optimistic. Edwin's father was William Wood Davis Goddard (1820-1891), and his father was William Farmer Goddard (1800-1878) - my grandfather's grandfather's father. Regardless of whether or not they were nice, I bet they were no-nonsense, hard working, family men. They were British colonists in early Barbados, one of the jewels of the empire. I wish I could hear how they spoke or see what they looked like.
If you continued through the family history I've researched you'd see several names which have been passed down, and I think that's pretty cool. My sister's middle name is Frances, for example, after our grandfather. No other Greggs in the bunch, but I'm okay with that.
The point of this brief history lesson? I have a deep and rich West Indian heritage, and as you can probably guess I've been around quite a bit of rum punch in my life. Quite a bit.
The recipe we use is centuries old. There's no nouveau twist. No South Beach influence. It's simple, classic, and I wouldn't make it any other way. The best thing about our recipe is that you don't have to write it down:
One of sour
Two of sweet
Three of strong
Four of weak
One part lime juice
Two parts sugar
Three parts rum
Four parts water
The first way rhymes a lot better, and that's how you remember it. It's the greatest rum punch ever. What's more? It's how rum punch was first made. The Food Network show 'Good Eats with Alton Brown' did an entire episode on punch, and when he got to rum punch Alton told about the original way pirates made it. I'll be damned if he didn't say the recipe was one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak. Alton said you should then add some spice, and we'll get to that in a minute.
So, start with a cup of lime juice, even if you buy a bottle instead of squeezing limes. Add 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of rum (I last used an 8 year old Bacardi, but of course Barbados rum is preferred), and 4 cups of water. Wisk or stir until all the sugar dissolves, and you'll have yourself two and a half quarts o' punch.
Pour into an ice filled glass. The traditional way is to top it with a couple splashes of Angostura Bitters and then the spice, which is a little ground nutmeg. Again, that's not some foo-foo South Beach garnish. That's legit. Centuries old. And while the end result is delicious, I must warn you that you should drink it in moderation.