Weekly Cocktail #52: Boston Expat Punch

Boston Expat Punch

Boston Expat Punch

We often say here at the farm that “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. But when living in Boston gave Carolyn lemons, she moved back to Norcal (I followed from Connecticut, if you are curious). We think it was a good choice.

But we can’t say life in New England was a total loss. We ate plenty of good seafood, gained an affinity for the Red Sox (which continues, as long as they aren’t playing the Giants) and still have plenty of friends to visit. And the beaches of New England and Long Island in summer are as close to perfection as you can get…..outside of country farms in Northern California. 😉

expat2Back when we were in Boston, it was not much of a cocktail town. Lots of beer, whiskey and attitude were served at most bars, and that was fine with us. Nowadays, Boston has quite the cocktail scene, and it is very well-documented by Fred Yarm at Cocktail Virgin Slut, among others. Plenty of creative, new-school cocktails from Boston have graced these pages, but for this week’s cocktail we are going dead simple and very, very old-school Boston.

expat3expat7One of the complaints comments we often get about our cocktails is the use of random, geeky and hard-to-find “esoteric” ingredients. And we have to cop to that, we like playing with booze (in moderation, of course). But when we stumbled upon this simple recipe from noted cocktail historian David Wondrich, we figured it would be a fun recipe that we can adapt, and almost anyone can make.

expat6expat1Boston Expat Punch is based on the traditional Boston Punch. Boston Punch is simply lemonade and dark, aged rum, sometimes with grated nutmeg. Back in the day, this was the stuff Paul Revere drank when he wasn’t brewing beer. Our version just uses the sweeter and less acidic Meyer lemons (very common in Norcal) for the lemonade and we heavily suggest using the nutmeg. Wondrich also recommends using a very flavorful rum like Smith and Cross, which is very good but almost too much for some. As the Meyer lemons have a notably sweeter flavor, slightly lighter rums like Appleton V/X or El Dorado 3yr also work well. And even lighter rums will play, but then the nutmeg really helps to add some depth.

Boston Expat Punch

Boston Expat Punch

How does it taste? Like rum and lemonade with a whiff of spice. And since rum adds sweetness and funk, it compliments, rather than dilutes the flavor of the lemonade. And the better the lemonade, the better the drink. As a last bonus you can mix Boston Expat Punch as a single drink or make a batch to serve on a lazy summer day. Works for us….even in California.

Boston Expat Punch:

(Adapted from David Wondrich)


  • 2 oz. dark, aged rum (Smith and Cross or Appleton V/X)
  • 4 oz. Meyer lemon lemonade (see below for recipe)
  • Nutmeg
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the rum and lemonade. Shake until cold and then pour the liquid and ice into a highball or pint glass. Grate nutmeg over the top and garnish with a lemon wheel. Serve.


Meyer Lemonade:


  • Peels of 6 Meyer lemons
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (superfine is good here)
  • 6 oz. Meyer lemon juice
  • 24 oz. water


  1. Place the lemon peels and sugar in a large bowl. Muddle to extract the oils from the peels and let sit for at least 2 hours.
  2. Add the lemon juice and water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Strain out the peels, pour into a bottle and store in the fridge.

11 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #52: Boston Expat Punch

  1. Never thought of muddling peel with sugar to make lemonade. My friend’s rather prodigious Meyer lemon tree has given us lots of fruit so we’ll definitely have to try this. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I moved to a sunnier spot here at The Muddy Kitchen West. The FIRST thing I thought about was your citrus good fortune. I need to find me a Yuzu lemon tree and put it in the ground!! (I have a Meyer finally!)

  3. wow–that is simple. When I saw “punch” I was expecting a laundry list of ingredients–this I can make 🙂 Might not go the make-your-own-Meyer-lemonade route (sorry!), but I can mix rum and lemonade and nutmeg (which I would absolutely freshly grate–is there any other way?). In-laws are coming this weekend and I was thinking I needed a fun new cocktail to get me through. Thanks for coming through AGAIN.

  4. 30 years in Boston and never heard of this punch. I am ashamed. We have an ample supply of Gosling’s Dark Rum (for Dark and Stormys) – will that do?

Please Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s