A delightfully refreshing mix of pineapple juice, coconut rum, and a dash of bitters, Rendezvous Rum Punch is the perfect large batch cocktail for your own Caribbean Fete!
Inspired by the flavors of the Caribbean and my own memories of the fabulous cuisine, today’s post begins the latest Feastory series – The Caribbean Fete. The word “fete” comes from the French word for party, and in English it usually refers to a casual but particularly jubilant affair. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll share a few recipes you could serve at your own fete, as well as some points on decorating and hosting. But before we get to that, let’s start with a simple but crowd-pleasing signature cocktail: The Rendezvous Rum Punch.
Oh, and as an added note – by somewhat coincidence this theme is coming to you just in time for the release of the newest installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise: Dead Men Tell No Tales (in theaters May 26th). So whether you like swashbuckling or just delicious food, this series of recipes is for you!
A Bit of Culinary History
Two years ago this month, Sam and I took our (one-year belated) honeymoon to the lovely Caribbean island, St. Lucia. It was such an amazing experience. Eventually, I’d like to write up a travelogue of our trip, but for now, I’ll stick to one of my favorite parts – the cuisine.
Understandably, one of the things I was most excited to experience in the Caribbean was the food. I’d always had a fondness for both Creole and South Asian styles of cooking, so imagine my surprise when I found the island’s cuisine to combine Indian and Creole spices, classic French techniques, and local produce and traditions in an inventive style of cooking that, if not unique to St. Lucia, could only be found on islands with a similar history and climate.
While taking a cooking class with a local chef during our stay, I learned that this eclectic style of cooking stems from the highly diverse number of cultures that have contributed to St. Lucia’s history. Beginning with the indigenous Arawaks and Caribs, the island was then colonized by both the British and then the French in the seventeenth century. These colonists brought African slaves and East Indian indentured servants with them, whose presence and descendants impacted the cultures and foods of the island. While St. Lucia is now a Commonweath realm associated with the United Kingdom (with Queen Elizabeth II acting as Head of State), French influences can be seen everywhere, especially in place names and in the Creole dialects of the inhabitants.
Rendezvous Rum Punch
Sam is not much of a drinker, which is great for me because it means I almost always have a designated driver. But in those rare occasions when he does fall for a cocktail, I take note. He found one while staying at the Rendezvous Resort in St. Lucia – a signature drink using coconut rum, pineapple juice, and Angostura bitters called the Rendezvous Delight. Knowing only the general ingredients and with the flavors still fresh in my mind, I immediately set out to replicate the cocktail when I got home.
This Rendezvous Rum Punch is my take on the drink, multiplied into a large-format cocktail perfect for your own Caribbean Fete. Make a large batch, keep it in the fridge, and allow yourself to relax and enjoy the company of your guests. Trust me, it’s a much better strategy than making cocktails to order, especially if you have things in the oven!
Because there are so few ingredients in the drink, I recommend going for quality when it comes to the coconut rum. I’ve had people that usually don’t like coconut rums tell them they like this drink, and it could either be due to the combination, or because I’ve learned to be picky with the rum I use. Different brands can vary drastically in flavor. Often, the liquor is mixed with a lot of other ingredients, so it’s important to do a little research to get one that will taste nice if not on its own, at least without too much additional artifice to hide it. I’ve stumbled on a really fantastic coconut rum called Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut Rum. If you can find it, it’s excellent. If you need something more mainstream, Bacardi Coconut works well with this drink too. For more information, check out Inu Ā Kena’s awesome coconut rum comparison – it definitely helped me narrow down my options!
This Rendezvous Rum Punch is sure to please, and pairs beautifully with the feast I have in store for you. Look forward to some fabulous oven-baked ribs, a coconut pineapple fried rice, and decadent mocha bread pudding in your future, only here on Feast in Thyme.
Rendezvous Rum Punch
- 8 oz coconut rum
- 4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup rich simple syrup
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- Angostura Bitters (a splash per glass)
- Pineapple wedges, to garnish
Mix all ingredients, except the bitters, in a large glass pitcher. Chill for an hour to overnight. Serve with a splash of Angostura bitters in each glass, garnished with a wedge of pineapple.
How to Make Rich Simple Syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once clear and slightly thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool. Keep in a mason jar or glass bottle in the fridge for up to 6 months. See this post for more information on simple syrups.