Several years back, at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Chicago, a group of us decided we’d each research and serve a popular Regency drink as part of a workshop we presented called “Jane Austen Happy Hour.” What fun to get to learn about (and taste test) so many delicious drinks. My beverage of choice was rum punch — a drink I happen to like quite a lot, even in the modern era!
As someone who’s fond of sweet and fruity cocktails in general, I found rum punch to be light, tangy and refreshing, and, in my opinion, extremely easy to make. I also liked the idea of featuring a recipe that the characters in my contemporary Austen-inspired novels, especially According to Jane, would be familiar with… (Readers might remember that spiked punch was served at Ellie’s post-prom dance, and that there was rather a lot of rum consumed — along with a little Coca-Cola, LOL — in Sam’s car one night. )
During Jane Austen’s time, rum punch was an extremely popular drink — one that had become available when trade began to open up between Europe and the Far East. Its name was derived from the Persian word Panj and the Hindu word Panch, both meaning five, which refers to the number of ingredients traditionally used in the beverage. Originally, it was a strong mixture of arrack, water, lemon juice, sugar and spices, but a more expensive and elaborate concoction was later created called “Regent’s Punch.” That drink often contained a number of additional ingredients, such as brandy, champagne, green tea and curaçao.
My basic rum punch recipe, however, calls for only rum, fruit juices and a dash of bitters and grenadine. For those who like a hint of spice, top with a sprinkle of nutmeg — it adds an interesting touch. Check out the recipe below for the beverage. Truly, it couldn’t be simpler!
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
1/4 oz. lime juice
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. pineapple juice
Dash of bitters
Add grenadine for color, sprinkle with nutmeg & enjoy!
And, so, let us raise a glass of virtual (or real!!) rum punch to Jane in celebration of her 241st birthday and, if you’re so inclined, share a short toast in her honor. Here’s mine:
“To Jane, thank you for the many hours of joy you’ve given me while reading your novels and for the unparalleled insight about human nature that you’ve expressed through your memorable characters!”
Just a quick FYI: I’ll be drawing the winner of my Austen prize package from one of my newsletter subscribers this weekend. Anyone who is on my mailing list — anywhere in the world — is automatically entered to win it!
It includes an autographed copy of According to Jane, paperbacks by two of my writing friends (Laurie Viera Rigler’s Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict & Lisa Plumley’s Holiday Affair), a blank journal, an MP3 audiobook of my novel Holiday Man, a P&P peacock edition key chain, a ceramic teapot for one with a couple of my favorite teas, and a few extras! If you’d like to be on that mailing list, just visit my website (here: http://www.marilynbrant.com/contact/) and sign up 😉 .
And, finally, as this is my last post of the year, I wanted to wish each of you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy start to 2017!! xox ~Marilyn