So much of what I share on my blog is about stories. For as long as I can remember, stories have been a central component in the culture of my family. Both my dad and my grandfather (whom James is named after) are amazing story-tellers and I’ve always loved sitting around and listening to them talk about their past experiences. Many of my family’s best stories, and some of their worst ones, involve this holiday punch that we have been making every Christmas since…well, for as long as anyone can remember, at least 60 years.
The punch itself has kind of a neat story to it. It was originally recorded by Joseph Peabody, a merchant in the British East India Trading Company. The recipe comes out of the West Indies during the Transatlantic Trade of the Colonial Era. It was passed down through the generations and my grandmother ended up finding it in a newspaper or magazine. From there it became an annual tradition.
A word of caution: Its bite is worse than its bark, so tread lightly.
- 4 cups Rum
- 3 cups Brandy or Cognac
- 1.5 cups Madeira
- 8 sachets Green Tea
- 1 jar Guava jelly Red Currant or Prickly Pear jelly make good substitutions if you can't find guava
- 1 Tbs. lime zest
- 12 limes
- 24 sugar cubes or 0.5 cups granulated sugar
- dried fruit, berries, or banana leaves for garnish
- Bring a kettle of water with at least 3 c. water to a boil.
- Steep all 8 tea bags in 2 c. of water for 5-10 mins.
- Dissolve 1 jar of jelly in 1 cup of water. (Note: It's really helpful to also pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to make sure all the jelly gets dissolved and there are no chuncks.)
- Juice 12 limes.
- Combine all alcohol, tea, jelly solution, lime zest, lime juice, and sugar cubes in a large bowl and stir until sugar disolved.
- Pour into drink jugs and let sit for 12-24 hours before serving.
- Even after sitting, the punch will be STRONG. Serve chilled, over ice.
- For an extra special presentation, garnish with dried fruits, berries, or banana leaves.