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A Lime Cut Three Ways: The Third and Final Cut

09/11/2013 06:58 pm ET | Updated Nov 11, 2013

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I've saved probably my oldest, most reliable "lime" drink for the last cut. Looking back on the three cuts, besides the presence of lime, I've noticed that all three use spirits derived from sugar cane.

In the first cut, The Caipirinha, I used cachaca from Brazil. In the second cut, The Mojito , I used a white, neutral Puerto Rican rum, and now here, for the third cut, I am using one of my favorites, a full bodied, dark West Indian rum.

The recipe for a good rum punch, this one put together from many trips to the Caribbean, is a universal one. And here it is in my best patois:

1 part sour

2 parts sweet

3 parts strong

4 parts weak

The differences between the rum punches come in what forms those parts take. The first part, however, is standard. The sour must be lime juice, freshly squeezed. I've seen recipes that call for lemon juice, but it's just not the same--and not as good in my opinion.

The two parts sweet offers many variations. Some use grenadine syrup. Others fruit-flavored syrups that are sold in Caribbean markets. I use, as I have in the other two lime drinks in this series, simple brown demerara sugar syrup.

The strong is, of course, the alcohol, and in the Caribbean it is always rum. Mixologists might tweak the cocktail by adding a sweet, colorful liqueur or another type of spirit other than rum. I never get that fancy.

The only variation I've included is the addition of overproof rum (or rum with a 60 plus alc/vol) to one of the three "strong" parts. In the past few years, I've pretty much ceased that practice. Imbibing a rum punch spiked with overproof rum can be fun, liven a party and provide "memorable" moments. At my age, however, the consequences faced the next day are no longer very pretty to justify adding it to the punch.

So now I just stick to three parts of dark rum; something from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, or one of the other islands once colonized by Great Britain. Don't go for an "aged" rum or one that comes slickly packaged and advertised as "super premium." An expensive "sipping" rum will just be wasted amongst all those other ingredients.

The weak in the recipe calls for the most variation. That's where personal preference really comes into play. I like adding tropical juices; preferably mango and guava. Others add pineapple or orange juice to the punch. You can add whatever type of fruit juice you like.

And for me, four parts of fruit juice, makes the punch just too sweet so for one of the four parts of sweet, I just add ice or water. Don't worry, your punch will not be watered down and if it seems that way, just balance it out with a little more rum or fruit juice.

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Now as far as the parts go, they can be tablespoons, half cups, or more. I just go with each part being a full cup. You'll end up with a nice jug of punch that will quickly be consumed at a party or, if it's just for you, store it in your refrigerator. With all that alcohol, it will last for weeks and only get better with age. Just make sure to shake it up before serving.

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Here are the ingredients and quantities I use in making my version of the rum punch:

1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups of simple sugar syrup

3 cups of dark, West Indian rum

4 cups combined of mango and guava nectar, or 3 cups of juice/nectar, plus one cup of water (or a handful of ice).

Angostura Bitters

Combine the first four ingredients in a punch bowl or jug. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

To serve, pour into ice-filled glasses and top with a splash of Angostura Bitters. If you have fresh nutmeg, grate a little into the glass.

Stir and sip.

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