The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study on the amount of binge drinking done in this country. The answer is we drink a lot. But those 65 years of age and older apparently go on more binges per month than any other age bracket. Still, what’s been making headlines is the stat that college-age adults will have nine drinks during a single binge. My first thought was that nine drinks of anything is too much. When was the last time you had nine glasses of water in a sitting? And exactly what are we talking about here? Nine plastic cups of Busch Lite (my college housemates’ beer of choice which, when we threw a pack of ice on top of the keg, we rechristened Busch Ice). Or are we talking nine vodka sodas? Either way, that is way too much work. And as they say, less is more.
As such, I recently got in touch with my old college housemate Jose (whose mother made Pepsi Chicken). I thought of him when the CDC study came out. Back in the day, Jose helped organize what was simply known as The Puerto Rican Party, along with other classmates from that friendly island. And instead of beer, they offered a tasty punch. I think my limit was three cups. But I asked Jose if he remembered what went into this Caribbean concoction and here is what he writes back:
From an alcohol standpoint, it was light rum, dark rum and the key ingredient 101 or 151 proof rum (not sure if rum is 151 proof or vodka is the one that is 151, but we used to use the high octane rum in the mix) equal parts of all three. The key to the mix were the juices. I did not use powder mixes. Instead I used to use concentrated mixes of fruit punch, guava, grape, orange and the secret ingredient passion fruit. The key was the passion fruit—it is good to lower the blood pressure…. We would mix until the sweetness of the juice would hide the taste of alcohol.
Jose reminded me the police never once shut down the Puerto Rican Parties because, he claims, they could never detect the alcohol. Or maybe they didn’t want to mess with the organizers (have you seen Carlito’s Way?). Looking back, my old housemate (currently a corporate CPA) describes the punch as “wicked.” And he hopes his daughters will never drink anything like it.