If you needed a good reason to go out and enjoy the molasses-made spirit better known as rum, get ready to mark your calendars. On Sept. 20, National Rum Punch Day is the justification you need to pursue rum punch-drunk love.
Here, a list of places that offers traditional versions of the concoction, as well as those who have created their own interpretations to provide a little variety. Whether you go the classic or modern route, they will all incite happy butterflies in your stomach.
Caña Rum Bar
714 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Caña Rum Bar is an inclusive members club that houses one of the country’s largest collections of well-crafted rum. They boast more than 140 small batch rums to choose from when making cocktails and punch. For an annual membership fee of just $20, customers can experience generous tastings and world-class rum seminars monthly.
After appreciating the witty prose inside of the seasonally-rotated menu, ask for the Jitterbug Perfume, a Jasmine-infused Bulleit Rye, Dani’s Jamaican rum blend, fresh grapefruit, lime, strawberry and Luxardo Abano in a punchbowl. It’s a creation perfect for sharing.
Lono’s Sweet Shop
The shave ice stand is to Hawaii what the hot dog stand is to New York. Lono’s Sweet Shop is one such stand that is doling out playful rum-spiked twists on shave ice in LA. Its Technicolor delights are refreshing, bright, deceptively simple and always clever, just like founder Ashkahn Shahparnia. His inspiration behind the concept was brought on by fond childhood memories of summers he spent in Hawaii (where he ate shave ice with each meal). The syrups at Lono’s are fresh, all natural, local and organic (whenever possible), concocted by chef Emily Ho and Ashkahn himself.
Lono’s Sweet Shop launched poolside at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood and is now on the move in pursuit of bigger venues to spread the Lono’s aloha. Look for them Oct. 6 from 9 to 4 p.m. at the launch of The Bloc pop-up mall during CicLAvia. At the end of your ride, cool off with a refreshing Rum Punch shave ice (pineapple, orange dream and lemon lime syrup, and of course, top it off with a shot of rum). Visit their website to keep track of Lono’s whereabouts. And, if you are planning to host a rum punch party, they can bring the stand to you; inquire via email.
2128 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
This cozy Los Feliz favorite boasts a retro design and welcoming neighborhood vibe. Acclaimed Chef Boudet utilizes the best seasonal and local ingredients (much of it from the Hollywood Farmer’s Market) as he prepares updated Italian-American favorites as well as new classics.
While you can eat here for every meal, you’ll want to stay for the bar scene at night. Plant your lips on the Planter’s Punch, made with Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, lime, hibiscus grenadine, orgeat, Angostura and mint.
Trader Vic’s Lounge
9876 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
This legendary Polynesian-themed indoor/outdoor lounge specializes in serving island appetizer plates and exotic cocktails, including the original Mai Tai, invented by Trader Vic in the 40s. Favored as a popular poolside getaway at The Beverly Hilton, it beckons guests to enjoy their favorite drink in a lounge chair under the sun.
Insist on an endless summer vacation by sipping on some Peach Tree Punch, a fish bowl of a drink with light rum, notes of peaches and oranges, and a soft whisper of coconuts. Be sure to take a friend or two along for the ride.
Lock & Key
239 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Amidst the dingy grime that exists outside its walls is a red beacon of boozy pleasure, beckoning you to enter, with its neon red curves set in the shape of a large keyhole. Once you enter, you’ll have fallen down the rabbit’s hole into a land of vintage doorknobs. A single pull on one of them grants you entry into the mixology wonderland on the other side. Black, green and gold hues decorate the space, playing up the white marble, mirrored ceilings and lofty banquettes. Subdued lighting and pulsating music set the tone, inviting guests to post up barside to admire their impressive array of craft spirits lined up in the back of the bar.
Reserve a table with a group of friends to request a Rum Punch Bowl. It’s filled with Rhum Agricole, Angostura Bitters, fresh peach, honey syrup and fresh oranges. Late night food cravings can be silenced with bites from Stall 239, their attached food window.
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Check out her other articles on CBS L.A. She also covers fitness on Examiner. Follow her on Twitter.