Hot Rum Punch

Nothing warms a cold body up like a quaff of hot rum punch. This version, spiked with cognac and infused with citrus and nutmeg, is exactly what you want to serve at a party once the temperature drops outside. If you’re feeling flamboyant, you can flambé it, to the great amusement of your guests. Just make sure to use a fireproof bowl; silver or another metal is ideal, wood or even tempered glass is not. But even if you don’t set it on fire, it’s a rich, soothing and powerful libation. Serve it in small cups for the most civilized gathering.


  • 4 to 5 lemons
  • 1 tangerine, tangelo or other thick-skinned, small citrus fruit
  • ¾ cup Demerara sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups amber or aged rum
  • 1 ¼ cups Jamaican rum (preferably 100-proof)
  • 1 cup cognac
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, as needed
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (14 servings)

      184 calories; 0 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 12 grams sugars; 0 grams protein; 4 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

12 to 16 servings


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 2 lemons and the tangerine in strips. Drop into a large heatproof bowl (or use a fireproof bowl if you plan to set the punch on fire) and combine with sugar. Muddle together with a muddler, pestle or the back of a wooden spoon. Let mixture sit for at least 3 hours to infuse (or infuse overnight).
  2. Halve the tangerine and squeeze juice into a measuring cup. Halve lemons and squeeze lemon juice into the measuring cup to make 3/4 cup juice in total. (Save any unsqueezed lemon halves for another purpose.)
  3. When ready to serve, bring 1 quart water to a boil. Pour rum and cognac into the bowl with the sugar and peels. If you want to flame the punch, do so now; see note below.
  4. Add reserved citrus juice and boiling water and stir well. Grate nutmeg over top of punch and ladle into glasses.
  • If you want to set the punch on fire, first make sure your bowl is fireproof. Silver or another metal is ideal; wood or tempered glass is not. Just after Step 3, use a fireproof long-handled bar spoon or ladle to remove a spoonful of the alcohol mixture, then light it on fire. Return spoon to bowl to ignite remaining punch. Stir flaming punch to help dissolve sugar; let it burn for a minute or two. To extinguish fire, place a metal tray over bowl. Proceed with recipe.

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