Avast, ye scurvy dog! I might just make you walk the plank if ye don’t be participatin’ in today’s food holiday. September 20 is National Rum Punch Day!
I’m not sure why pirates are so closely linked with rum. Actually, now I do. (Be careful if you click on the link, though – the skull and crossbones wallpaper might give you a headache and/or make you dizzy). Rum punches date back centuries, to around the time of Christ; archaeological excavations in Pakistan have uncovered distilleries and “grog shops” where, it is presumed, ancient Pakistanis danced around with many a lampshade on their heads. The word is derived from the Hindi panch, and traditionally referred to a beverage made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices. The British East India Company (those guys again!) brought rum punch to England in the 17th century. From there, it spread throughout Europe and beyond. By the 18th century, most American taverns specialized in rum punch; during Colonial times, it was the most popular drink around. In fact, Benjamin Franklin even printed a recipe for rum punch in his 1737 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack. Some of the oldest rum punches are Planter’s Punch and Bajan Rum Punch; the latter even inspired a national rhyme that helped bartenders remember the key ingredients: “One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak.” Which translates to one part lime juice, two parts sweetener, three parts rum, and four parts water. A 1908 recipe for Planter’s Punch appearing in The New York Times reads,
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.
I think it’s great how bartenders long ago came up with clever little poems to describe their drinks. They were a talented lot back then, that’s for sure! In honor of National Rum Punch Day, Tara and I decided to hit up our favorite Portland tiki bar, Hale Pele. After all, they’re known for their rum concoctions. All I can say is: holy cow, these packed a wallop!
Hi, there. Tara here. Yes, those rum punches do pack quite the wallop. So much so that Mark is now sprawled out on the couch and mumbling about feeling ‘spinny’. Oh, I do love that husband of mine. 🙂