Rose Hall Witches Brew

Rose Hall Witches Brew – A Rum Punch Steeped in History

Get ready to be transported to the lush island of Jamaica with this recipe for the Rose Hall Witches Brew, a rum punch as legendary as the spirits said to haunt the Rose Hall Great House! This potent concoction blends tropical fruit juices with dark Jamaican rum, creating a refreshing and flavorful cocktail with a historical twist.

Photo of Rose Hall Witches Brew (Jamaican Rum Punch cocktail)

A Haunting History

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Montego Bay lies the majestic Rose Hall Great House, a Jamaican landmark shrouded in mystery and folklore. Legends whisper of Annie Palmer, a white witch whose ruthless reign over the plantation and its slaves earned her the moniker “The White Witch of Rose Hall.” Whether these tales are truth or embellished fiction, they undeniably add an air of intrigue to the Rose Hall experience.

A Taste of the Tour:

One of the highlights of visiting Rose Hall Great House is the captivating tour that delves into the property’s fascinating history. The tour culminates in a unique experience: a chance to sample the Rose Hall Witches Brew in the very dungeon where it’s said to have been concocted!

Rose Hall Bar
The Rose Hall Bar is famous for its rum punch, the Witches’ Brew.

Recreating the Brew at Home:

While the exact recipe for the original Witches Brew remains a secret (perhaps guarded by those very spirits!), this version captures the essence of the drink and is sure to become a favorite at your next gathering. It’s a vibrant and refreshing rum punch, perfect for sipping on a warm evening and reminiscing about island adventures.

Rose Hall Jamaica
Rose Hall is one of Jamaica’s most popular great houses and the source of terrifying local legends.

More about Rose Hall

During the 18th century, Jamaica was home to more than 700 great houses, all built on high ground so that their owners could overlook the plantation and spot travelers, who were often given a bed and food for the night. 

“Rose Hall is the most famous of Jamaica’s plantations, built in 1750 by George Ash, a wealthy English planter who named the home after his wife,” said Daltice Moodie, a guide at the plantation. 

“When Ash died in 1752, Rose remarried three more times. Her last husband, John Palmer, completed the house between 1770 and 1780.” 

When finished, the Georgian mansion was a sight to behold, and featured a stone base with plastered upper story that offered sweeping panoramic views of the coast. Known as a “Calendar House,” the home had 365 windows, 52 doors and 12 bedrooms. 

“At its peak, this was a 6,600-acre sugar plantation with more than 2,000 slaves,” said Moodie. “After John and Rose Palmer died, the house was willed to his grand-nephew John, who married Annie Mae Patterson in 1820.” 

Jamaica Rose Hall Review 4
Legend has it that somebody was murdered in almost every room of Rose Hall, Jamaica. Above, the walls of Palmer’s bedroom were covered in red fabric to match her passionate nature for blood. In 1831, she was strangled here by her free slave lover, Takoo.

The Legend of Annie Palmer

Rose Hall is most famous for the legend of Annie Palmer, a diminutive but evil beauty who was the topic of countless Gothic novels and the H.G. de Lisser book, “The White Witch of Rose Hall.” 

“Annie was raised by a Haitian voodoo priestess who taught her the ways of witchcraft,” said Moodie. “She lived in the house for 11 years, and within nine years, she murdered three husbands and countless slave lovers.” 

Some people speculate that it was the Palmer’s tin and lead dinnerware that led to her dementia. “Continuous use would eventually lead to brain poisoning,” said Moodie. 

Each of Annie’s husbands was killed in a different way, each in a different room. Her first husband, John, was murdered by arsenic poising in the Gentleman’s Room. “After his death, she became the wealthiest plantation owner in the area,” said Moodie. 

Annie stabbed her second husband in the Toile Room, and strangled a third in the Crewel Room, said Moodie. “Blood stains were found on the Toile Room’s walls during restoration.” 

Annie is said to have blamed the deaths of her husbands on the yellow fever virus, which was common at the time. “The slaves took their bodies through a secret door down to the shore, where three palm trees now rep- resent where the husbands were buried,” said Moodie. “The slaves were then killed on their way back to the house.” 

Jamaica Rose Hall Review 3
The Toile Room at Rose Hall, where Annie Palmer murdered her second husband. The room is named after the beautiful fabric on the walls.

Annie’s Reign of Terror

Annie was extremely cruel to her slaves, who were often beheaded in the courtyard or placed in the dungeon without food or water if they misbehaved, said Moodie. “Bear traps were also placed in certain areas of the property to prevent slaves from running away,” she said. 

A tour guide and her friend crack almonds outside of the Rose Hall Great House Plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Annie’s Demise

Annie’s reign of terror eventually came to an end in December of 1831. According to Moodie, her free slave lover Takoo believed Annie had something to do with the murder of his granddaughter, Millicent. 

“Takoo came through a secret passage and strangled Annie in her bedroom,” said Moodie. “Takoo then fled, and was shot in the hills by the estate’s general overseer.” 

Annie Palmer was buried on the estate in 1831. “Three crosses were placed on her tomb to keep her spirit inside,” said Moodie. “They wanted to have one side vacant for her to come and go as she chose.” 

Balcony at Rose Hall Jamaica
This is the spot where Annie Palmer’s maid fell to her death.

Rebuilding Rose Hall

After going through three separate owners, the house eventually fell into ruin. It wasn’t purchased again until 1965, when John and Michelle Rollins of Wilmington, Delaware restored it at a cost of $2.5 million. 

The Rollins did a fine job in restoring the home to its former 18th century splendor, complete with mahogany woodwork, European antiques and art dating back to the 17th century. 

The silk wallpaper in the ballroom, printed with palm trees and birds, was designed by Pierre De La Salle in a pattern first used by Marie Antoinette in the Palace of Versailles. 

A picture of the decaying Rose Hall in Jamaica in 1965 when it was purchased by John and Michelle Rollins.

Other beautiful architectural touches include an authentic Chippendale mirror, sewing box and bell pull in the sitting room; Queen Anne chairs in the morning room; a four-pedestal Sheraton banquet table, 18th century Chinese dishes and a portrait of King Louis XVI of France in the dining room; and an 18th century chandelier made from French gold dore in the ballroom.

Country singer Johnny Cash, who lived nearby, donated a beautiful drop leaf table to the estate, which resides in the lower gallery. Today, the dungeon houses the estate’s gift shop, restrooms and Annie’s Pub, a charming tavern where guests can refresh with a cool Witches Brew, made from rum and pineapple juice.

Beyond the Recipe

The Rose Hall Witches Brew is more than just a cocktail – it’s a window into Jamaican history and folklore. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Rose Hall Great House, be sure to take the tour and experience the legend firsthand. And in the meantime, enjoy this recipe and share it with friends and family, creating your own spooky (or sunny!) memories with every sip!

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Photo of Rose Hall Witches Brew (Jamaican Rum Punch cocktail)

Rose Hall Witches Brew (Jamaican Rum Punch)

Recipe by Jason Hill –
Rose Hall is one of Jamaica's most amazing tourist attractions. Don't miss the dungeon, where you can try their famous Witches' Brew, named for Annie Palmer — a diminutive & evil beauty who was the topic of countless Gothic novels. She was raised by a Haitian voodoo priestess who taught her the ways of witchcraft. She lived in the house for 11 years. Within nine years, she murdered three husbands and countless slave lovers.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 4


  • 2 cups orange juice (16 ounces)
  • 2 cups pineapple juice (16 ounces)
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces grenadine
  • 12 ounces Myers Dark Jamaican Rum
  • Wedges of pineapple, orange, lime or lemon for garnish


  • Combine all the ingredients and serve over ice, garnished with fresh slices of pineapple, orange, lime or lemon.
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Keyword cocktails, drinks, rum
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.