I look forward to summer for many. many reasons. Rum punch is high on that list.
Rum punch at the beach? Even better.
We snuck away to the beach this weekend for a quick 48-hour visit. Perfect weather – sunny and breezy, and a great opportunity to catch up with friends.
And we had a lot of friends at the beach… Nearly 30 people gathered for dinner on Saturday night.
Thankfully, while serving 30 people strikes terror in the heart of many a hostess, to my BFF Shannon this is no big deal. She loves to feed a crowd. She has it down to an art form – pulling from an arsenal of tried and true faves tucked into a huge, somewhat sticky three-ring binder.
We chilled on the beach most of the day, then with about an hour-and-a-half before guests arrived, swung into action. Every teenager in the house (that would be nine of them) was tasked from the to-do list. They cranked a newly-minted summer playlist, and went to work, slicing, tidying and assembling.
Saturday night’s dinner involved a trio recipes from a 2002 issue of Gourmet magazine – delicious Grilled Jerk Chicken, Papaya Salsa and Curried Rice… oh, and the Island Rum Punch (yes, yes that makes four recipes from the same issue – math never was my strong suit). For starters, she tasked me with the empanadas, and her husband grilled up a big batch of Ina Garten’s Grilled Herb Shrimp. And a group of the teenagers assembled the delicious Banoffee Eton Mess. (That received such raves that I’ll do a separate post about it tomorrow).
My son (the one who had just returned from college the day before) happily took the rum punch assignment… with great results. This is a fantastic punch… guava, pineapple and orange juice, with a hint of lime. I love the suggested sprinkle of nutmeg on top. The kids enjoyed the non-alcoholic version of it… but the amber rum adds a nice grown-up twist.
I firmly believe anyone can feed a crowd – the trick is simply to have a great, tried-and-true menu to work from, task your friends and family to help get things done (if you don’t have nine teenagers handy, have your friends bring more of the menu), and serve lots and lots of rum punch. The recipe for a perfect summer gathering…
A Menu to Feed 30 at the Beach, Shannon-Style:
Island Rum Punch
- One 12-ounce can guava nectar
- 1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
- 1 ½ cans unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1 ½ cups amber rum
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 8 drops angostura bitters
- Freshly-grated nutmeg
- Stir together all ingredients except nutmeg in a pitcher. Serve over ice, sprinkled with a bit of nutmeg.