Friday Happy Hour: Spice Islands Punch

Just a couple of weeks ago, I first introduced an amazing, funky spirit called Batavia Arrack, from Indonesia by way of the Netherlands, into our rotation.  I’ve been playing around with it a lot, because it’s so weird and interesting and good, so now I’m back with my second Arrack drink. This one is modeled on classic (and by classic I mean a few hundred years old) hot punch recipes, so it has some pedigree. It’s funky, tart, sweet, spicy, and, best of all, hot on a cold fall night: The Spice Islands Punch. – Andrew



Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Spice Islands Punch

2 oz Batavia Arrack
1 oz Aged Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1 1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup or 1 oz Sugar
Hot Water

Combine the Arrack, rum, lime juice, and sugar in a mug. Fill the rest of the mug with boiling water and give it a stir to dissolve the sugar. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and enjoy!

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The funky tang of the Arrack is balanced by the mellow oakiness of the aged rum, and the two spirits give the drink a rich mouthfeel despite all the water you’ll add to the drink. The lime gives the punch a necessary bit of bite, but it’s balanced by the sugar. We used Royal Rose Saffron Simple Syrup to spice up the drink, and give a bit more of an exotic feel to the Punch. And then all that hot water…


Hot drinks aren’t exactly common these days, but some of the oldest (and best) drinks were meant to be served piping hot. This was especially important in the days before central heat, but they can be just as enjoyable today, in these fantastic weeks when the weather has turned cool but we’re just piling on blankets (and drinking hot punch) instead of turning on the heat. This drink was originally meant to be a cold Sour, but then Nole, Sophie and I all got sick, so I turned this into a Hot Punch with lots of cold-killing power – a great alternative to the classic Hot Toddy. Just sip carefully.

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One more note: it’s either freshly grated nutmeg or it’s nothing. Don’t even bother with the stuff in the jar from the store; fresh is so much better than store-bought ground nutmeg that it’s not even worth the trouble. It might seem like an odd affectation to buy whole nutmegs and then grate them over a drink, but trust me – there’s a reason most old drinks were garnished with nutmeg, before citrus twists came to dominate. It’s just good.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper