The Jamaican Planter’s Punch

Popularized in the 1920s, this classic uses one of the Caribbean culture's most important ingredients—allspice—though a healthy pour of aged rum helps too.
Photo by Todd Huffman

In the Caribbean, punch began as something enjoyed by the plantation owners, or “planters,” hence the name. Variations pop up all over the islands, but Planter’s Punch became linked strongly to Jamaica in the 1920s. Myers’s Rum started to sell a Planter’s Punch Rum formulated for the drink. Planter’s Punch served at the upscale Myrtle Bank Hotel in Kingston, and Titchfield Hotel in Port Antonio also popularized it.

Follow the classic sing-song punch template: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak (the latter is often tea, fruit juice or even dilution from ice, as below). Some folks also add “a touch of spice to make it nice.” The recipe below is inspired by Jamaica’s classic.

Courtesy Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco

Ingredients
  • 3 ounces aged Jamaica rum, like Appleton Estate Signature Blend
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ¾ ounce SC Demerara syrup (recipe below)
  • ¼ ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Mint sprig, for garnish
Directions

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a blender with 12 ounces of crushed ice and 4–6 regular ice cubes. Pulse 3–5 seconds, then pour into a Collins or highball glass (strain out the large chunks of ice, but allow some ice to fall into the glass). Garnish with mint sprig.

SC Demerara Syrup Ingredients
  • 1 cup Demerara sugar
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
SC Demerara Syrup Directions

In a saucepan over high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add Demerara sugar, and stir vigorously with a whisk until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and stir vigorously until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in a lidded bottle or other sealed container in the refrigerator. The syrup will keep for several weeks.

Rum By Any Other Name

Through history, some of the names for rum have included rumbullion, grog, kill-devil, demon water, pirate’s drink and Nelson’s blood.

Published on March 23, 2017
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip. and NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening, which debuts in September 2018. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net



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