"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on."

Dean Martin

Week two of the lockdown and I don't know about you, but I’m feeling a bit playful, so how about instead of a boring old wine column, we take a look at a drink that can be fun for all the family?

Yes sir, the drink in question is punch and the beauty of it is that you can make a wonderful fruit concoction with the kids and then slip a vodka, rum or other extra ingredients in your own glass to turn it magically into parental super juice.

Punch is thought to have originated in India and the idea came to the UK as early as the 17th Century but the fruit and rum concoctions known to most of us come from the West Indies a century later. Did you know by the way that for about 200 years, the British Empire was largely fuelled by rum? Before you get the wrong idea, I don't mean financially as a great deal of the rum consumed was smuggled, rather that everyone from the sailors to the civil servants and even the judges were smashed half the time!

Alcoholic drinks were often safer than stored water and I guess in a strange hot country while wearing the silly court dress of the period, rum was the valium of its day. Anyway, this kinda explains why rum has become so ingrained in the culture of punch and cocktails despite its lack of popularity as a standalone drink today.

So, it's time to get creative with the kids and an old favourite of mine is what I call Pirate Punch so you can get the rug rats busy making eye patches and pirate hats fashioned out of old newspapers while you slice the fruit.

The base liquid is a mix of orange juice and Irn Bru but you can substitute rose lemonade for the latter if stuck. Im not a master chef so bear with me while I make this up.

  • 1 litre of orange juice
  • 1 big standard size bottle of Irn Bru (made from Girders)
  • 1 lemon sliced as thinly as you can without risking a trip to A&E
  • 1 orange or tangerine broken into its segments
  • A handful of strawberries or raspberries sliced in two or three but remember about A&E

Get the kids to stir it with a spoon for a few minutes then when it stops swirling, you can add some cracking decoration by grating a bit of the orange peel over the top but I also experimented with a tub of hundreds and thousands I found in the pantry and it worked a treat - trust me, we went past weird a long time ago.

To convert it to Mam and Dad's special pirate punch, all you need to do is secretly add a measure of spiced rum in your glass before adding the punch.

And this week's recommendations:

Watford Observer:

Lord Nelson Spiced Rum

A fabulous mix of Demerara Rum, caramel and spices. Definitely adds punch to the punch

thewhiskyexchange £18.75

Watford Observer:

Solway Banoffee Rum

Oh my!

Master of Malt £27.95