“Not that you need an excuse,” as drinks correspondent David Wondrich says, but, well, now you have one: Today is National Rum Day, so it’s as good a time as any to become more fully acquainted with one of summer’s most enjoyable spirits — the clear stuff, the gold stuff, the dark stuff (just not the mixed-with-diet-soda stuff). Wondrich himself prefers to celebrate by inviting over a few friends and making a bowl of “pirate-style rum punch.” All you need to do: stir 3/4 cup of demerara or turbinado sugar (“Sugar in the Raw”) and 1 cup of water over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool for 15 minutes. Put the syrup in a 3-quart bowl or pitcher and stir in 3/4 cup of fresh-squeezed lime juice. Add 1 750-ml bottle of the funkiest rum you can get (some examples: Smith & Cross; Myers’s; a 50-50 blend of Lemon Hart 151 or Wray & Nephew White Overproof and Gosling’s Black Seal). Stir. Add 3 cups cold water and a whole lot of ice. Stir again, grate fresh nutmeg over the top, and then, Wondrich says, you’re ready to “set sail for the Spanish Main.”
But in case you need some more help — or you’re wondering what the hell the difference between Smith & Cross and Gosling’s is — we suggest browsing our comprehensive guide to everything rum-related, below. You might even be able to educate a pirate.