Rum Punch & a Visit to Chawton by Marilyn Brant
This month was the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and, as a first-timer at the event, all I can say is WOW…what a fascinating, free-spirited week of activity! Between publisher parties, various author appearances, book signings, seeing friends from across the romance-writing world and going to workshops and gatherings, it was BUSY!! But, for me, one of the coolest parts was getting together with my fabulous AuAu pals (pictured left: Karen Doornebos, C. Allyn Pierson, Abigail Reynolds, Sharon Lathan and me) and giving a program on popular drinks during the Regency.
My beverage of choice was rum punch — a drink I happen to like quite a lot, even in the modern era! As someone who’s fond of sweet and fruity cocktails in general, I found rum punch to be light, tangy and refreshing, and, in my opinion, extremely easy to make.
Also, being that my Austen book, According to Jane, is a contemporary story, I wanted to feature a recipe that would be familiar to the characters in my novel. Readers might remember that spiked punch was served at Ellie’s post-prom dance, and that there was rather a lot of rum consumed (along with a little Coke) in Sam’s car one night…
During Jane Austen’s time, rum punch was an extremely popular drink — one that had become available when trade began to open up between Europe and the Far East. Its name was derived from the Persian word Panj and the Hindu word Panch, both meaning five, which refers to the number of ingredients traditionally used in the beverage. Originally, it was a strong mixture of arrack, water, lemon juice, sugar and spices, but a more expensive and elaborate concoction was later created called “Regent’s Punch.” That drink often contained a number of additional ingredients, such as brandy, champagne, green tea and curaçao.
I love this cabinet showing her teapot, wooden tea caddy and lovely cups.
And, of course, there is the classic shot from outside of the house. We had such a gorgeous spring day!
I’d wanted to visit Jane’s house for a very long time, so it was inspiring to finally get to see it in person…