Martha Washington’s Rum Punch (and Happy President’s Day)


Today’s recipe is a superb rum punch. This is not “any” rum punch but Martha Washington’s… or to be precise: my own version of the punch Lady Washington, the first American First Lady, used to serve at official dinners and parties in New York and Philadelphia, as well at her Mount Vernon state in Alexandria, Virginia…
At Mount Vernon, the first presidential couple had a rum room and also a rum cellar… cool people, don’t you think? And there is more: did you know that Mount Vernon was named after Vice Almirante Edward Vernon, the man who introduced the grog to the Royal British Navy?
That only tells me how fond of rum the American founding fathers were… Rum played an important role in colonial life. It was socially and medically consumed as well as used as a trading commodity… and of course the fashionably dressed and wealthy Lady Washington, who took entertaining seriously, used to serve it as a concoction with citruses and spices. Her Rum Punch was one of her husband’s favorite drinks.
To the wonders of rum! Happy Birthday George Washington!

Martha Washington’s Rum Punch | Ingredients for 12 drinks
4 oz of fresh lemon juice

4 oz of fresh orange juice

4 oz simple syrup 
(1 part water, 1 part sugar. I used demerara sugar)
3 limes quartered

1 lemon quartered
1 orange quartered

1/2 Tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

3 cinnamon sticks, broken

6 cloves

12 oz boiling water
8 oz of light rum 
(I used Ron de Venezuela Santa Teresa Claro)
8 oz of dark rum
(I used Ron de Venezuela Santa Teresa Añejo)
4 oz of orange curaçao (I substituted it with Rhum Orange Liqueur)

In a container, mash the lemons, orange, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add syrup, lemon and orange juice. Pour the boiling water over the mixture. Let it cool. Strain out the solids. Heat the juice mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight.


In a punch bowl, combine the juice and spice mixture
 (approximately 24 oz), light and dark rums, and the rum liquor. Serve the punch over ice with some orange, lemon or lime wheels. Top with grated nutmeg and cinnamon.


To print the recipe, click here.


What is your favorite punch?

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