rum campari punch

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Rum Campari Punch
Adapted from Brendan McHale, Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Don’t fret if you don’t have a punch bowl. Any big bowl + soup ladle + small cups will do. Icing down the punch bowl or chilling it before you use it will help keep the drinks cooler longer. You can make a dramatic ice boulder for the center by freezing a Tupperware-like container full of water the night before (ever the New Yorkers, we used a take-out container; Brad Farran of Garland in Raleigh, NC smartly noted to TT that the lid will keep you from spilling water as you move it into the freezer, I should have listened). Finally, one of the best things about punch is that it ages well; a day or two later, the flavors are more mellow and harmonious. We made this over the weekend (FOR PRACTICE, okay?) and can’t wait to bring it to the New Years party, you know, all two hours that we are there before going home to put this little dude to bed. Just put the fizzy stuff in when you’re ready to serve it so it doesn’t get flat.

The adjusted recipe below is a little sweeter than the original and uses slightly less rum, as 3 3/4 cups are called for but that would require that you had a full bottle plus 1/2 cup from another; it was plenty strong even with the missing rum. Cruzan Black Strap Rum was recommended, but we were unable to find it, a bummer as it is dark black in color and would have made this all the more stunning. [Updated to note: Based on some of your responses, Cruzan Black Strap Rum was not the dream many of us hoped it would be here — many found it to yield a dark/less pretty/murky color punch with a strong molasses flavor. So, if this sounds appealing, definitely seek out this rum; if not, just use a regular dark rum, as we did. Hope that helps.]

Yield: Just shy of 4 quarts; you can ladle 30 1/2-cup servings from it

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 1/4 cups lime juice
3 3/4 cups pineapple juice
1 3/4 cups Campari (or less, to taste)
1 750 ml (about 3 1/4 cups) bottle dark rum
1 750 ml (about 3 1/4 cups) bottle sparkling wine

1 giant ice cube
1 orange, sliced thin
1 lime, sliced thin
or thick peels of zest from 1 lime and 1 orange

Heat the sugar with 1/4 cup cold water until it comes to a boil and sugar dissolves. Pour in remaining cold water; let cool before using. This is your simple syrup.

Mix cooled simple syrup with lime juice, pineapple juice, Campari and rum in a chilled bowl, or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

To serve: Add sparkling wine, a large ice cube and citrus garnishes. Serve with a ladle into small cups.

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