Planter's Punch cocktail

Planter's Punch

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 14, 2022 
The Planter's Punch is a classic Rum drink known under numerous different names. It is a delicious Tiki cocktail that's at the same time refreshing and boozy.

The recipe for the Planter's Punch is simple. A mix of dark Rum, citrus, sugar, and some subtle spice. The exact measurements, though, vary significantly from source to source. One version from the New York Times, published in 1908, calls for "Two of sour, one and a half of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak". Others recommend a "two of strong, one of sour, 0.5 of sweet" approach. And the list goes on.

But not only ratios vary. Also, the list of ingredients seems to be different in many recipes. Some ask for additional pineapple juice, some for Grenadine, and some even bring both to the drink. So it's about time to have a closer look at this classic Rum Punch.

History of the Planter's Punch

The origin of the Planter's Punch is a bit unclear. It's been around since the 1800s, and many hotels and bars have gotten linked to its invention over time. Some of them are in Charleston and St. Louis. However, the roots of the drink seem to be somewhere else and also older than those links.

That suspicion will only get stronger when looking at the variety of names the drink has. Planter's Punch is just one among many. The Savoy Cocktail Book refers to it as a Jamaican Rum Punch, while others call it Creole Punch. But all of those "different" drinks are made with the same ingredients in slightly different measurements.

One thing you can observe, though, is that the drink must be closely linked to the Caribbean, a region famous for making high-quality Rum. That also corresponds with the most likely story of how the cocktail came to life. According to the narrative, Fred L. Myers, the founder of Myers Rum, once put the recipe on the back of each bottle of Rum he sold.

The drink was named "Old Plantation formula" and featured classic Rum Punch proportions. That referred to 1 part sour (lime juice), 2 parts sweet (simple syrup), 3 parts strong (dark Rum), and 4 parts weak (water). The American adaption of this recipe interchanged strong and weak measurements, leading to the drink being significantly boozier.

And this potent drink was a huge success. At the peak of the Tiki cocktail wave in the 1960s, the Planter's Punch was an extremely popular drink. But as the Tiki hype passed, the cocktail almost vanished with it.

Eventually, when the Tiki cocktail culture celebrated its comeback in the late 2000s, the Planter's Punch had its second spring, too. And up until now, there are no signs that this will change anytime soon.

Variations of the drink

More modern interpretations of the classic recipe bring in some new ingredients. My favorite addition is Angostura bitters. Those cocktail bitters bring some spice and depth to the cocktail that hasn't been in the original recipe. And that spice fits in perfectly.

Other common twists are using pineapple juice and/or Grenadine. However, you might convince me with the pineapple juice as this brings in some fresh fruity notes. But Grenadine usually is a big no-no for me. The sweet taste and artificially red coloring should not be allowed to spoil this classic cocktail recipe.

Planter's Punch cocktail

Planter's Punch

A classic Rum cocktail, also referred to as Jamaican Rum Punch.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: lime, Overproof Rum, rich syrup, rum, Rum Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 161kcal
Cost: $2.20

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Dark overproof Rum
  • 1 oz Lime juice
  • 0.5 oz Rich simple syrup
  • 2 oz Chilled club soda
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients except the soda water into your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake until the drink is well chilled.
    1.5 oz Dark overproof Rum, 1 oz Lime juice, 0.5 oz Rich simple syrup, 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Strain over ice into a chilled Collins and fill up with club soda.
    2 oz Chilled club soda
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Nutrition

Serving: 5.25oz | Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.47g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.15g | Sodium: 51.5mg | Potassium: 230mg | Sugar: 46.67g | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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