Rum punches have a long history in this country. Famed chef Jacques Pépin serves this punch at his home in Connecticut, and it always manages to disappear, no matter how big a batch he prepares. The heat from the red pepper flakes and other warming spices adds a refreshing kick.
Start to Finish Time:
With a vegetable peeler, remove the colored outer skin from the orange and lemon; place peelings in a large saucepan. (Be sure to omit any white pith, since it's bitter.) Squeeze the juice from the fruit and add it to the pan along with sugar, spices, bay leaves, vanilla, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and let cool. There should be about 2 cups of liquid.
In a large container, combine the juice mixture with rum, juice concentrates, and cranberry juice; mix well. Transfer to large jugs, cover, and refrigerate until serving time.
To serve, fill each glass halfway with ice cubes and pour ½ cup punch over the ice. Stir well.