The recipe for the Planter's Punch is a blend of dark rum, citrus, sugar, and Angostura bitters. The exact measurements vary significantly between recipes, so let us show you our favorite.
Quick Facts Planter's Punch Cocktail
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: boozy, sour
- How to serve it: over ice
- Best glassware: highball glass or tiki mug
- Alcohol content: ~ 18% ABV, 27 grams of alcohol per serving
Now it's time to have a closer look at this classic Rum Punch and get your shaker ready.
- 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
- 1 mint sprig - for garnish
- 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.
Ingredients for Our Planter's Punch Recipe
Tiki Cocktails are famous for their long list of ingredients that can be almost overwhelming. Compared to that, the Planter's Punch is pretty easy to make and calls for only a handful of components:
- Dark overproof rum: Overproof means that the rum of choice should have over 50% ABV (100 proof).
- Fresh lime juice: you need the zing of freshly squeezed juice to balance the rum and marry all flavors together.
- Rich simple syrup: This is sugar syrup with a ratio of 2 parts sugar per one part water. It is sweeter than regular simple syrup and adds a silky texture to your drink.
- Chilled club soda water: It's vital that your soda has good carbonation and is chilled. Otherwise, you get a lukewarm, stale drink.
- Angostura aromatic bitters: most recipes ask for only one dash of these highly concentrated potions. Yet, for the Planter's Punch, we like to increase that measurement a little and make it three to four.
That's our favorite version of this drink. You can also leave off the bitters or add some more fruity components.
The base recipe for the Planter's Punch consists of rum, syrup, and lime. Yet, more modern interpretations of the classic recipe bring in some new ingredients.
Our favorite addition is Angostura bitters, as you can see above. 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 widespread variations are calling for pineapple juice and/or grenadine. -You might convince me with fresh pineapple juice because this brings in some fresh fruity notes, but I'm not a fan of grenadine with this recipe.
There are only very few cocktails where the pomegranate syrup works for me. The sweet taste and artificially red coloring should not be allowed to spoil this classic cocktail recipe. If you want to try it nonetheless, best make your own.
Further, a variation 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.
History of the Planter's Punch
The Planter's Punch has been around since the 1800s. Since then, many hotels and bars were linked to its invention. Among them were venues in Charleston, South Carolina, and St. Louis, Missouri.
However, the true roots of the drink seem to be somewhere else, possibly in the Caribbean. That belief will only become stronger when looking at other names under which the Planter's Punch is known:
The Savoy Cocktail Book refers to it as a Jamaican Rum Punch, while others call it Creole Punch. All these "different" drinks call for the same ingredients in slightly different measurements. Plus, the Caribbean is 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 the Jamaican 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:
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, making the drink significantly boozier to fit into the concept of Tiki cocktail culture.
At the peak of the Tiki wave in the 1960s, the Planter's Punch was extremely popular. However, when the Tiki hype passed, the cocktail practically vanished with it. Only when the Tiki cocktail culture celebrated its comeback in the late 2000s did the Planter's Punch recipe have its second spring, too.
For more drinks that bring you some tropical, Caribbean vibes, try these crowd favorites:
And there are many more. For a better overview, head over to our list of the 20 Best Tiki Cocktails.