Friday, May 22, 2015

Rum Citrus Punch - Make some for your next picnic or barbecue!

I love tart flavors. Even as a kid, I was a fiend for pickles and vinegar & oil salad dressings, and pies filled with sour cherries. Sure, I liked sweet, too, but I was more likely to grab a dill pickle to snack on than to go looking for cookies.

I still have that love for tart foods. A quick look in the refrigerator will confirm that we might have a slight pickle problem.

Recently, when I was thinking about making a jug of punch, I ignored the pink-and-sweet-and-fruity versions and settled on a refreshing citrus punch that would work just as well for a barbecue or for a brunch.

This starts out with one of my favorite combos - Captain Morgan Grapefruit Rum mixed with orange-pineapple-banana juice.

I've tried all three of the new Captain Morgan rums - pineapple, grapefruit, and coconut, and I have to admit that I'm particularly enamored with the grapefruit. Which is sort of strange, because I'm not a huge fan of plain old grapefruit. But here's the thing - the rum has the flavor of grapefruit without the bitterness that sometimes comes along for the ride.

And, well, it tastes like rum. So that's a plus.

When I was brainstorming my punch, I knew that rum and juice wasn't quite enough to write about. (But give it a try, if you have a chance!) So I got into the kitchen and mixed up a big old jug of citrus and fruit punch.

Speaking of jugs, an iced tea dispenser jug is perfect for punch, particularly if you're serving outdoors. You can seal the top, so you won't get flying critters nose-diving into a punch bowl, and you can set the thing in a cooler or bucket of ice to keep it chilled when it's not in use.

Even better, many of them have a top handle, which makes it easy to carry, and it dispenses from the bottom, so you don't have to tip a large container to pour.

If you're hosting indoors a pitcher is a good choice for the serving area - you can keep extra punch in the refrigerator to refill the pitcher as needed, so there's no need to dilute the mix with ice.

If you mix the punch in advance, stir it again before you start serving - some of the fruit pulp tends to settle to the bottom.

But note! If your party includes kids or non-drinkers, you might want to be very explicit about labeling the container and keeping it out of reach of the younger ones. Or you can leave the alcohol out of the mix, and let folks add their own to each glass.

Rum Citrus Punch
Makes at least a dozen generous servings

1 12-ounce can frozen orange-pineapple-banana juice concentrate
1 12-ounce can frozen orange-peach-mango juice concentrate
9 cups water (to dilute the concentrate per recipe instructions)
1/4 cup yuzu* juice
1 cup Captain Morgan Grapefruit Rum
Frozen or fresh fruit, to garnish
Bitters, optional (cherry bitters would be nice!)

Combine the frozen concentrates, water, yuzu juice, and rum in a large pitcher, punch bowl, or ice tea dispenser.

Stir until the frozen concentrates are melted and mixed in.

Fill each glass with ice at serving time. Add a dash of bitters (if you're using it), then add the punch.

Garnish with fresh or frozen fruit, as desired. In this case I used peaches. Note that if you use frozen fruit, it will help to keep the drinks chilled without diluting them.

*Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that I'm rather fond of. You can buy the bottled juice online if you can't find it elsewhere. Or substitute lime juice - the flavor isn't the same, but it will give you another flavor that isn't already in the mix.

The nice folks at Captain Morgan sponsored this post.