El Dorado Rum Punch – Recipe from Jerry Thomas ‘The Bon Vivants Companion’

Use large bar glass

One pony of brandy.

One-half pony of Jamaica rum.

One-half pony of bourbon.

One tablespoonful of powdered sugar dissolved in a Little water.

A slice of lemon.

FILL the tumbler with fine ice, shake well and ornament with berries or small pieces of orange. Serve with a straw.

El Dorado was a man, then a city, a kingdom and finally an empire in Spanish mythology, and sprung from a story about a tribal chief who covered himself in Gold Dust before submerging himself in Lake Guatavita in Colombia. Now at the time the Spanish were a tiny bit gold mad, this was the 1500’s after all, and those cathedrals on the Iberian won’t just build themselves. So exploration after exploration was sent into the Amazon and the Andes looking for the source of all south American riches. Even Sir Walter Raleigh got into the game before a intransigence on a second expedition involving a Spanish outpost and a little piracy saw a short stay in the tower of London end badly.

Several expeditions found the lake, and a couple of more industrious prospectors tried to empty this lake to look for all the gold thrown by and at the tribal chief (apparently legend has it as a sort of dump for unwanted golden trinkets, a more extreme spring clean). An early expedition only amounted to a ‘small amount of gold’ about 4000 coins worth $100000, a later expeditions only found ‘golden ornaments, jewellery, armour and artifacts that were auctioned at Sotheby’s and now find themselves in the British Museum’. Call me crazy but doesn’t sound like a terrible haul from a random lake in the Andes. Unfortunately, my plans for a South American excursion next year have been scuppered by the pesky Colombian government designating the lake as a protected area.

Regardless the myth behind this golden city in the mountains has stayed in our consciousness for hundreds of years, more recently hinted at in ‘The Lost City of Z’.

Now the recipe looks a little intimidating, that looks like a lot of strong booze with not a lot to give it any length, however this is one of those wonderful sum-parts drinks and it tastes fantastic, my ornaments let it down a little, which is a shame as it is a fantastic drink, which makes sense considering Shakira named an album and world tour after it.