If you read our previous post you know that Penguin Random House Canada recently provided us with a review copy of The Great Shellfish Cookbook: From Sea to Table More than 100 Recipes to Cook at Home by Matt Dean Pettit. This is a lovely book that any home cook who is curious about seafood, or who simply wants to increase their repertoire of great seafood recipes, should have on hand. We tested the Chili Lime Side Stripe Shrimp Lettuce Wraps; a mouthful of a recipe title to match the many mouthfuls you will want to have of this dish.
The cookbook is not all about things that live in the sea however. The last three chapters focus on tasty side dishes, seafood loving sauces and cocktails. At some point during this review, we decided that the mark of a great seafood cookbook was most probably in the quality of the cocktail recipes included. After all, anyone can throw together garlic spot prawn-stuffed sweet potatoes or torremolinos octopus or fried coconut sea scallops…right?! Right! We figured that we had to perform our due diligence and tackle the cocktail chapter.
Because we love rum, we love punch, and we love Zac Brown Band (see Notes from the author, in recipe below), the Toes in the sand island rum punch was the obvious choice.
The recipe itself is for 4 – 6 servings but can probably easily be doubled. Because it only relies on one type of alcohol, it can be relatively inexpensive to make even if you decide to double or triple the recipe for a party.
Our rum punch actually ended up looking a little (a lot) darker than the one which is pictured in the cookbook photo. The recipe calls for dark rum, and we used an especially dark rum that we had purchased on a recent trip to Bermuda; this is likely what made the difference in colour.
This punch certainly packs a punch. We found the taste strong, but pleasant. We’re quite sure that anyone who likes rum would find this cocktail enjoyable. For those who don’t like rum…well, you probably wouldn’t choose to make this drink anyways, so it doesn’t really matter what you might think.
Toes in the sand island rum punch
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
- 4 cups (1 L) ice cubes, plus extra
- 8 oz (240 ml) dark rum
- 1 cup (250 ml) pineapple juice
- 1 cup (250 ml) coconut water
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Grated fresh nutmeg, for garnish
- 2 limes, quartered, for garnish
- Note from author: The recipe is named after the lyrics of one of my favourite Zac Brown Band songs. It’s a song that instantly transports me to vacation mode. The combo of dark rum and fruit in this drink gives it a well-balanced sweetness.
- Make a simple syrup by adding the sugar to 1/2 cup (125 ml) cold water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar crystals have completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool completely. Place 1/4 cup (60 ml) aside for this recipe, and store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
- Fill a large pitcher with ice. Add the rum and the reserved simple syrup. Stir to mix well. Add the pineapple juice, coconut water and thyme. Mix to combine the flavors.
- Set out four to six small rocks glasses and fill each one with ice. Pour the rum punch into the glasses. Garnish each one with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg on top and a lime wedge. Welcome to vacation mode.
“Excerpted from The Great Shellfish Cookbook: From Sea to Table More than 100 Recipes to Cook at Home by Matt Dean Pettit. Copyright © 2018 Matt Dean Pettit. Photography copyright © 2018 Ksenija Hotic. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.”