Trinidad is known for many things, from carnival to the invention of the steelpan. The unique island culture found on this tropical paradise makes Trinidad an unforgettable place to visit. In addition to the natural beauty of the island and the rich history of the area, you also have a ton of tasty mixed drinks. No drink, however, is quite as popular as Trinidadian rum punch. Rum has long been a staple in Trinidadian culture since it first came to the islands.
The History of Trinidad rum punch
Toward the end of the 15th century, the Caribbean islands were opened to trade routes, and the sugar cane plant took root on the islands. Sugar cane was in high demand at the time and took over several of the islands to supply European countries their sweetener.
At nearly each of the sugar cane plantations, small distilleries popped up to create rum from the sugar factory byproducts. Initially, the rum was not a hot commodity. It was usually just given to the indentured servants and only occasional sold for a small profit. It wasn’t until the latter half of the 1800s that the sugar business started going under thanks to the discovery of beet sugar, which was much easier for people to grow and harvest. Many plantations and distilleries had to shut down because they couldn’t afford to keep going. Some of the ones that remained, however, managed to survive the fluctuating supply and demand of the Trinidadian rum business.
The island’s history with sugar cane and the long production of rum in Trinidad have made rum the national Trinidadian drink. This smooth alcohol has been used in a variety of concoctions, but none are quite so popular as the Trinidadian rum punch. Before you start picturing a super sweet red beverage, however, you must know, Trinidad rum punch is not your typical fruity mixture.
A true Trinidad rum punch is tart and strong enough to lay you out if you’re not careful. The recipe is simple and even has a catchy little poem for remembering the recipe. It goes:
The numbers and descriptions each reference a different part of the recipe. It’s typically one-part sour, which refers to lime juice, followed by two parts sweet – that’s your sugar. Three strong is the rum, of course, and finally four weak is water, coconut water, or some sort of fruit juice depending on your tastes. To top it all off, Angostura bitters is often recommended.
Angostura created bitters, the popular mixology ingredient, and is known for being the Caribbean’s number one rum producer. The company has been located in Trinidad since 1875 and has outlasted many popular Trinidad distilleries to become the local favorite.
The next time you’re in Trinidad, or just feel like bringing a bit of the Caribbean to your home, put together a Trinidad-style rum punch. The beverage is perfect for sipping in the hot sun and will give you a nice buzz while keeping you surprisingly refreshed. Just be careful as you sip your beverage because this is one mix drink that goes down easy and smooth.