basil's bar rum punch

Cocktail of the week: How to make the Mustique Rum Punch from Basil’s Bar

‘One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak’: Mustique’s much loved beachfront cocktail bar shares its time-tested rum punch recipe

If Venice’s star-studded Cipriani epitomises high-octane glamour, Basil’s Bar on the Caribbean island of Mustique, gets the prize for laid back charm. Yes, its legendary Wednesday Jump Up parties are the focal point of this magical island, and have seen Princess Margaret, Kate Moss, Mick Jagger and myriad other celebrities let their hair down over the years. And yes, Prince William and Kate Middleton flew Basil himself over to host a pop-up bar for their wedding reception at the Goring Hotel in 2011. But Basil’s Bar also captures barefoot, bohemian, table-dancing vibes at their finest.

Nothing sums up Mustique parties better than one of Basil’s famous rum punches. ‘One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak’, is the rule to live by when it comes to this Caribbean drink, and Basil’s Bar broadly sticks to it. They use a mix of dark and strong white rum (70% ABV is suggested) for an extra kick, but you can play around with these proportions as you like. Aged Pilipino rum Don Papa makes a particularly flavoursome blend if you’re after something classic. For the dark rum, try keeping it local with new Cornish distillery Mainbrace Rum, which launched last year. If you’re a gin drinker struggling to get on board with the idea of rum as a premium spirit, try Mad City: a white rum enhanced with 25 botanicals and Fairtrade, sustainable credentials.

One day, we’ll be dancing in Basil’s Bar and watching the sun go down over the Caribbean sea but, until that day, here’s a taste of Mustique to make at home.


Ingredients (serves one)
For the simple syrup (batch)
200g white sugar
200g water

For the drink
50ml lime juice
50ml simple syrup
50ml grenadine
100ml dark rum (anything 40% ABV)
100ml strong white rum (anything over 70% ABV)
200ml orange juice
150ml pineapple juice
100ml water


Fresh fruit – a wedge of pineapple, orange or lime are classic
1 paper straw
Plenty of ground nutmeg


  1. First, make a sugar syrup – this can be done in advance and stored in the fridge for up to a week. Place the sugar and water in a pot on the stove. Bring to a simmer and whisk for a moment, remove from heat and leave to cool.
  2. To make the rum punch, mix together all ingredients in a large glass, stir and taste: add a little extra sugar or lime juice, or a splash of water if it is too strong.
  3. Pour over ice in a hurricane glass.
  4. Garnish with fruit slices, and use the fine part of a grater or a microplane to shave some fresh nutmeg over the top of your drink.

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