This lovely cocktail is my pomegranate-rum punch and it may be just what you need to celebrate New Years in-style. Punch was actually invented as a beer alternative in the 17th century by men working the ships for the British East India Company. These men were serious drinkers, drinking as many as 10 pints of beer per day.
The warmer waters of the Indian Ocean made for poor storing conditions for beer causing it to become rancid and flat. But once the boats reached the shore, sailors quickly developed new drinks using the indigenous local ingredients around them such as rum, citrus and spices.
Sailors brought their “punch” back to Britain where it quickly gained traction. The Queen herself disapproved of overly alcoholic drinks, preferring a lightly alcoholic beverages instead. Punch was the perfect balance. With the Queens approval, punch quickly rose in popularity, and spread to the American colonies.
Massive punch bowls became ubiquitous at social gatherings, and some historical texts allude to the founding fathers drinking several bowls of punch at a celebration following the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Non-alcoholic versions of punch were even made as an alternative for women and children.
By that time, “cocktail culture” was in full effect, and it was socially acceptable for women to drink in public, punch got pushed aside temporarily. It was not until the 2000’s that punch remerged thanks to mixologists in cities such as as New York and San Francisco.
My pomegranate-rum punch recipe is actually inspired by Mexican agua frescas, a simple drink made of fresh fruit and water. The addition of rum, ginger ale and pomegranate juice, make this the perfect, festive, make-ahead party cocktail for not only for New Years but for any friends and family gathering in the new decade ahead.
- 1 cup light rum
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 (20-ounce) bottle good quality ginger ale
- 1 lime, sliced
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- Step 1 In a large pitcher add the rum, pomegranate juice, lime juice, orange juice and ginger ale. Add a few handfuls of ice and mix well.
- Step 2 Place a good amount of crushed in four lowball glasses. Divide punch among glasses. Garnish with a lime slice and pomegranate seeds.
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