Traditional West Indian rum punch

A traditional rum punch recipe with a twist.


This rum punch is what my grandparents drank. It is truly the traditional, unadulterated taste of the colonial West Indies. If you visit a tropical place and ask for a rum punch as I’m sure many of you have, it is often brightly coloured and made up of mostly fruit juice into which a shot of rum is mixed. True West Indians  “remember” the flavour of dark rum and the essence of the sugar plantations with the spice of nutmeg and a squeeze of lime.

Remember a little over 200 years ago sugar did not exist in the western world. It was the most valuable currency once it became established properly in the 1800’s and all these islands produced it at some time. Sadly, the slave trade came out of Europe’s tremendous sweet tooth and the “Great Triangle” as it was known, came to be. Trinkets and baubles on the ships from Europe to Africa to pay for the slaves; slaves to the Caribbean and America to work the sugar and cotton plantations; sugar back to Europe. My point is not to depress you but more to impress upon you how ingrained is rum in our heritage. Rum is a by product of the sugar refining.

St. Lucia stopped growing sugar cane in the early 1960’s and planted bananas instead, but we have a rum distillery which survives to this day and we produce world class, award winning rums. Naturally I have used St. Lucian rum in this recipe which I would encourage you to try, but if it is unavailable to you then please use a dark generic brand for neurontin mellow rum.


My granny came to St. Lucia to be governess to the governor’s children at around the turn of the last century. Once she married my grandpa, her 3 sisters joined her from St. Vincent where her family were based from Scotland. Aunty Emma never married but was a game old lass and died a few days short of her hundredth birthday. She, Sun Templers, had this very type of rum punch every single day of her life at lunch time. Just sayin’

My lovely Aunt and Uncle, Rosemary and Cusho were also rum punch aficionados. If we ever went to the beach for the day with them, rest assured the fixings for rum punch came. Its a bit labour intensive as rarely is rum punch made in big jugs. They tend to be made individually by the purists, and I think rightly so. My father and grandfather before him were more into straight rum cocktails, which involve a cocktail shaker and some attitude, but these are tales for another day.

The traditional rum punch recipe is:

  • 1 of sour (15ml lime juice)
  • 2 of sweet (sugar syrup) (I used only 1 at 30ml)
  • 3 of strong (80ml rum)
  • 4 of weak (water or ice) (I use only ice)
  • a good grating of nutmeg

A sugar syrup is simply made by boiling equal measures of sugar and water just until the sugar melts. Its a nice touch if you put a piece of lime peel in when doing so.
I hope you like the traditional rum punch recipe! 🙂

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  • Reply
    November 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Loved reading all about your family! And so feeling for a rum punch now!

    • Reply
      November 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks Shelley. Go ahead…treat yourself….make one

  • Reply
    November 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Going to make mine now!!

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