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Medford Rum Punch


Old-fashioned Glass

Glass Guide- Old-fashioned Glass

This is a close adaptation of the classic Medford Rum Punch found in Jerry Thomas' 1887 How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant's Companion. The original recipe calls for Medford rum (see below for information), which you will no longer find and you will want to use a full-bodied rum as a substitute - nothing too dark or light. Thomas uses a Jamaican rum as the secondary ingredient and these can be anywhere from light to full bodied; this drink is best with one in the middle of the range, something lighter than your Medford substitute.

You have rich and medium rums, and that is about all you need for this uber simple classic cocktail. Do use fresh squeezed lemon juice to compliment the other fruits.

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1 Cocktail


  • 2 ounces Medford rum (full-body substitute)
  • 1 ounce Jamaican rum (medium-body substitute)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 orange slice, cut in quarters
  • Seasonal berries for garnish
  • Lime slice for garnish


  1. Place the rums, lemon juice, and orange pieces into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Pour everything (do not strain) directly into an old-fashioned glass.
  4. Garnish with season berries and a slice of lime and serve with a straw.

A Little About Medford Rum:

Medford, Massachusetts was once home to some of the best "Old New England Rums" produced in the United States. The history goes back to colonial days, and by 1750 there were at least 35 rum distilleries throughout the Massachusetts Bay colony. The village of Medford, just outside of Boston, became famous for its superior quality rums - some accounts attribute the local spring water to the taste - and was held in high esteem straight through the 1800's.

Possibly the most famous tale of Medford rum involves the American revolutionary Paul Revere. On his famous midnight ride in April, 1775, he stopped by the Medford home of Captain Isaac Hall who was a descendent of Andrew Hall, the first proprietor of Medford's rum industry. Revere's quick visit with Hall included a shot of the famous rum and the recruitment of local minutemen who went on to Lexington. Medford celebrates this event on Patriot's Day (April 21) every year.

Old Medford Rum was the most popular brand of these distinguished rums. The distillery was purchased by Daniel Lawrence from the Hall family and rum, along with ship building and brickmaking continued to be the focus of the local economy. According to the Medford Historical Society, the Lawrence family provided a barrel full of rum for shipwrights to have a quick drink as they passed by the distillery. In 1905 the announcement was made that the distillery would close, they sold the name to a Boston company.

For more about Medford rum and one of the best histories of rum in general, read Wayne Curtis' And a Bottle of Rum.

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