Nothing beats a glass of Wray & Nephew’s Rum punch! And with World Cocktail Day this Saturday, we’ve got some interesting commentary on the history of the Rum Punch and how it has embedded itself into Jamaican culture, from Wray & Nephew’s resident Rum Expert, Chris Dennis.

The history of Rum Punch

Many Ingredients and Many More Stories

What we call punch today has quite the journey. The balanced, tropical-fruit-laced connections we know today didn’t just come out of a ready to go bottle, marked add ice and serve from a bowl.

There are many ways to tell this story, and I like to think that it came a little from the East and a little from the West. In the beginning, it was almost entirely down to necessity, and later, down to flavour.

Traditionally, English ships had been stocked with beer for all and wine for officers and gentlemen that travelled aboard them. Unfortunately, this took up a large amount of space and, if not kept in the right conditions, rations would go sour.

The evolution of trade routes opened doors to new flavours to mix with whatever survived the long voyages across the oceans. Rather than storing beer and wine, sailors looked towards spirits and anything that didn’t perish in the hold would be mixed with available fruits, citrus, and whatever else was to hand, into what started to be called a Punch.

The word ‘punch’ itself was first recorded around 1630 and is thought to come from the Hindi word ‘Panc’, meaning simply ‘five’, which derives from the general five ingredients; Spirit, sugar, citrus, spices, water.

Gradually, molasses-based rum from Jamaica, Guyana, and Barbados, which only became richer and, moreover, slowly improved in their barrels in laden ships holds, became the daily tipple for the English Navy. This ration – the Rum Ration – would evolve over the years, adding Citrus and water, taking it close to a kind of punch-meets-a-Daiquiri style of beverage.

Early Rum and punch engrained itself in the culture of Jamaica, creating a sense of place and pride amongst its people. Sure, punch is around everywhere in different shapes, sizes, and styles, but Jamaican Rum Punch is the best of them all, thanks to the fruity nature of Jamaican Rum, it creates a drink as unique, resilient, headstrong and, well, fun as the people of the island.

Wray Rum Punch recipe

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 25ml Wray & Nephew
  • 100ml Pineapple Juice
  • 25 ml Pomegranate Juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lime


  1. Fill a tall glass with cubed ice
  2. Add 25 ml Wray & Nephew to glass
  3. Add all other liquids
  4. Stir & garnish with fresh lime wedge 

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