Boston Rum Punch

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I like to make special cocktails for holidays. You know, something that will serve a large group because holidays always give people a reason to party. Since I like to mingle at my soireés, the last thing I want to do is mix drinks all night. So, I usually make a punch.

The 4th of July is perfect for a punch for a couple reasons. It serves a large group of people and is great for backyard barbecues. Unlike other punches out there, this one is pretty easy as it only takes two ingredients: rum and lemonade. While I prefer to make my own lemonade from the numerous lemons I always seem to have lying around, you could easily buy a carton at your favorite grocery store.

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If this punch sounds like a spiked lemonade, you’re right. Yes, there are lots of spiked lemonades out there. (I even made one for Memorial Day.) But what makes this one different is that it’s been around since the revolution.

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According to David Wondrich, Bostonians have been drinking versions of rum punch since the turn of the 18th century. See, it’s commonly believed that whiskey is the original American liquor, but it turns out rum actually came first thanks to all the sugar available from the West Indies. When the colonists went to saloons and taverns it wasn’t whiskey or mead they were drinking, more times than not it was rum. While the settlers often drank rum on its own, they also liked to mix it. Most of the time those mixers were citrus juices which is why we now have this delicious Boston Rum Punch.

So whether you buy your lemonade or mix it up, I couldn’t think of a better punch with which to watch the fireworks. After all if the colonists were planning the revolution while imbibing punches like this, it seems only right that we celebrate the birth of our nation with the same drink. Happy 4th, everyone.

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Boston Rum Punch


  • 4 lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 oz. rum


  1. Peels the lemons. Muddle the lemon peels and sugar together in a bowl. Let stand for an hour or two to extract the lemon oil. Add the water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Once the lemonade is ready, fill a shaker with ice. Add the rum and 5 ounces of the lemonade. Cover and shake to combine the flavors. Pour into a pint glass, garnish with a wedge of lemon and serve.