Hope you all had a fantastic Labor Day weekend. This time of year is such a scramble — back to school juggle, work ramping up, etc. I wanted something reliably delicious for our holiday BBQ, and I have long loved this punch recipe. A friend introduced me to it — it's from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe. We've enjoyed it for many Christmases, but I thought of it this Labor Day and wanted to break it out. Turns out, it's amazing year round — equally quaffable in summer, despite all the spice notes. Made me feel like I was drinking on an island instead of in my Brooklyn backyard.
Future note to self: no need to double this guy. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see the ridiculous quantity of punch I ended up with. I'd say this serves a party of 8-12 adults nicely.
Also, as I'm transcribing the recipe, I'm realizing that I took a lot of shortcuts. It's fine. I started juicing the grapefruit I'd bought, only to find them kind of dry since it's summer. I bought some Ruby Red Grapefruit juice instead. Thanks, Ocean Spray. Good enough.
adapted from Gourmet Magazine, December 1987
1 1/3 c sugar
1 whole nutmeg or you can use ground (1 tsp). I did. Couldn't find whole.
1 cinnamon stick (broken into pieces)
¼ tsp ground mace (I didn't have this and omitted it. It was still great.)
1 oz fresh ginger (a 2” x 1” piece) sliced thin
1 T vanilla extract
1 small bay leaf, crumbled
2 c red grapefruit juice
¾ c fresh lime juice
¼ c grenadine
1 T Angostura bitters
3 1/2 c light rum
lime slices for garnish
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add half a nutmeg, grated or 1 tsp grated nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, ginger, vanilla, and the bay leaf. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Let cool completely and strain through a fine sieve set over a large bowl or pitcher, and discard the spices. Add the grapefruit juice, lime juice, grenadine, bitters and rum, running the juices through the strainer as you add them. Stir until combined well, and chill the punch covered, overnight.
To serve, stir well and ladle into punch cups. Garnish with a lime slice and grate nutmeg over the punch (or add a pinch of ground nutmeg).