Give the kids some chocolate milk and let’s proceed to make a drink for the grown! Our family home like so many in the Caribbean was surrounded by citrus trees… oranges, grapefruit, shaddock, limes and lemons. Basically we were never out of freshly made juice with our meals and on those scorching Caribbean days when an ice-cold glass of juice would hit the spot. Though I don’t have access to the variety of citrus fruits these days, here’s a concoction I made up in true island style.
Granted as a young fella there wouldn’t be any rum in our ‘lemonade’, but with the holidays quickly approaching I thought I’d add some to get us in the festive mood.
4 juice oranges *
5 cups water
3 drops Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon mixed essence
1 cup sugar (adjust accordingly)
3/4 cup white rum
* 3 lemon and 3 orange slices for adding some brightness to the jug.
Note: Juice oranges are a bit smaller than the everyday oranges, have seeds and it’s juice is well balanced between sweet and tart. Mixed essence can be found at most Caribbean specialty grocery stores. BTW if you want to make this like the spike drinks you get at the liquor stores, you can replace the rum with vodka.
Juice all the citrus fruits mentioned above, and strain into a big bowl so you can prevent seeds from getting in. Then it’s just a matter of adding all the other ingredients and giving it a good whisk.
Tip: Dissolve the sugar in 2 cups (off the 5 mentioned in the ingredients list) of warm water, so it dissolves faster. After you’ve mixed everything together you can pour it into your serving jug, add some ice (or chill in the fridge) and top with some slices of fruit to give the jug a punch of color and to make people really thirsty when the see it. If rum is not your thing you can leave it out and have a virgin drink the entire family can enjoy. If rum IS your thing.. you can certainly go a bit heavier.
* do not add ice if you plan on serving later, it will only water-down the drink.