Jamaican rum punch – A recent visit to Moshan Island Grill on Swindon’s Devizes Road, provided the perfect opportunity to enjoy a cheeky Jamaican Rum Punch. And then to do a cheeky Swindon in 50 Drinks blog about it.

Jamaican Rum punch at Moshan Island Grill
Jamaican Rum punch at Moshan Island Grill

Find Moshan Island Grill on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Moshanislandgrill

The rum punch story

Any classic drink you care to mention has a history – and the rum punch is no exception. And this blog, Deeper than the Punch Bowl: A Brief History of Rum Punch – tells it. According to the article, the history of punch stretches back over four centuries. Further, it’s intertwined with the civilizations of the East Indies, the huge fortunes of kings and merchants and Europe’s expanding empires.

You need to travel back to 1632 to find the first mention of punch in the western canon. This was a time before Peter the Great became the Czar of Russia, before William Penn founded the colony that took his name and before Sir Isaac Newton was a twinkle in his mother’s eye.

The rule of five

All that said, it appears there’s no definitive confirmation of the origin of the word punch. It might come from Sanskrit. Or it might originate in the Indian dialect of Hindustani. Others still, argue its root lies in ancient Persia. But whatever the truth of all that – every language’s term for it translates to five. That being the five elements that define a true punch:

  1. Sweet
  2. Sour
  3. Alcohol
  4. Water
  5. Spice

Most common to punches of days gone by was nutmeg. European aristocrats so desired this space that punch journeyed from the shores of the Indian Ocean to London and Paris. In the 17th century, nutmeg was the most valuable of substances.

When the beer went flat

Western sailors of the time were in it for adventure, the possibility of finding fortune – and the drink! They prized their daily ration! Every ship’s belly held barrels of ale to keep the sailors … refreshed. But, as their ships entered warmer waters, their ale went flat and spoiled. Searching for a replacement libation they found … rum! More to the point – rum punch.

It only needed British sailors to discover it, for punch to travel and conquer the world.

By 1655, the rum punch as we know it, was born when Jamaican rum from the West Indies became the alcoholic tipple of choice for a chunk of the western world. As British imperialism crossed the pond to the Americas, the taste for this popular dink grew. So what Jamaica that?! Boom!

Jamaican rum punch - Angela Atkinson and Caroline Davis Khan
Angela Atkinson (looking rather demonic! and the lovely Caroline Davis Khan – not looking demonic!

Epilogue

Yes it was a delicious punch. And yes, the food was amazing!