Storied Rum Yums
by Island Expert Rich McKee
Nothing fuels my thirst for rum like a good ole sea novel. So the last time I read Moby-Dick for the American literature class I teach at a local college—closing the back cover on Ishmael floating on Queequeg’s coffin —I quickly made the short trek from my home office to my lanai bar and perused the fine selection of spirits resting there.
Aah yes, a wonderful sampling of Nelson’s Blood from a variety of Caribbean islands: Pyrat XO Reserve, R.L. Seale’s 10, the Appletons, Traveler’s 5 Barrel, and so on.
But on this fateful day I was moved to skip my usual neat snifter of swirl and get creative. The mood for something resembling a cocktail overtook me. So from the refrigerator I got out a jug of fresh-squeezed orange juice, an opened bottle of sween’n’sour mix, the Rose’s lime juice, and a bottle of grenadine. Then I grabbed the main ingredients: a bottle of Appleton Estate, some Mount Gay Eclipse, and a generic spiced rum named after a pirate, or a mythological beast … I forget which. After a half-hour of experimental lab work the following punch recipe emerged:
24 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice (or a good premium brand)
8 oz. sweet’n’sour mix (or a whiskey sour pre mix)
2 oz. Rose’s lime juice (accept no substitutes)
4 oz. this or that gold Caribbean rum
4 oz. this or that other gold Caribbean rum
1 – 2 oz. almost any spiced rum
1 – 2 oz. REAL grenadine (read the ingredients to be sure it’s pomegranate-based, but in this case do not accept Rose’s)
Serve shaken, not stirred, over ice in a tall Collins glass. Garnish with the fruit slices that move you most, or perhaps an anole tail. Under no circumstance should you put one of those silly umbrellas in the glass. And don’t be afraid to play with the ingredients ratios.
Now allow me to clarify this seemingly eccentric formula. It is important to use quality non-alcoholic juices, and also imperative that you do not use any of the inexpensive white rums that are so popular in the islands. Most white rum has a dreadful taste. Why do you think they mix it usually with cola or some other strong-flavored highballs ingredient? Good gold rums tend to compliment the juices better. Also, take your grenadine seriously. Ninety percent of the things today bottled as grenadine are not even close. They are little more than sugar and chemical substitutes with red food coloring. While it is not the key to this drink, a real grenadine supplies just the right dash of sweetness and color. (Cross my heart.)
Of course it’s called Moby-Punch; and if you lose the recipe don’t worry. I’m going to publish it in an early chapter of my next Florida novel, where a couple of the main characters are pounding down the Mobys, then go fishing up along a remote river … and encounter a skunk ape.
So get back to nature -- waaay back -- with Moby-Punch.
Our thanks to guitarist, professor, and writer Rich McKee. Rich's two Florida novels The Culprit and The Trickster are now available on Amazon. Learn more about his work at his new website. Bestselling author Tim Dorsey reports that The Trickster, "captures every drop of the punishing yet beautiful peninsula that is Florida."