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Time for a Drink: Planter’s Punch Recipe

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Hold the sweet juices and the pineapple; a traditional Planter’s Punch is a clean, icy drink of rum, lime, and bitters.

It’s good to have a few basic drink recipes banked away for those times when you want something cold and refreshing. And when it comes to basic, cold and delightful, few drinks can beat a Planter’s Punch.

The Planter’s Punch flowed out of the rum-rich Caribbean well over a century ago, and its origins date back centuries. Originally a simple combination of a full-flavored rum with lime juice, sugar, some form of spice and plenty of ice, the Planter’s Punch morphed over the decades into elaborate concoctions containing pineapple juice, grenadine, several types of rum, and so on. The drink is the common ancestor of all those tiki drinks and punches that are once again in vogue.

While messing with original recipes is often disdained in the cocktail world, the Planter’s Punch is the kind of laid-back drink that it’s best not to get too worked up about.

Feel free to experiment with the basic recipe (this one is from Beachbum Berry Remixed, by Jeff Berry, and was contributed by New Orleans-based rum collector Stephen Remsberg, who has experimented with Planter’s Punch recipes for more than 20 years and settled on this version as his favorite), substituting grenadine for some of the sugar, for example, or trying a mixture of different styles of rum.

As long as the drink remains icy and refreshing, virtually any edits you make are bound to work out.

  • 3 ounces Coruba dark Jamaican rum (if you can’t find Coruba, substitute another dark, heavy rum)
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, mixed until dissolved)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  1. Combine ingredients in a tall glass and fill with crushed ice. Swizzle with a bar spoon until a frost forms on the outside of the glass. The ice will settle as you do this; add more crushed ice to fill, garnish with a mint sprig.

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