This is Jonathan’s FAVORITE cocktail. In fact, we’re drinking a couple right now, as I write this! Yum yum! Perfect way to spend a humid Sunday in the South!
One of the side projects I’m focusing on is writing a “Freeman Family Cookbook”, including original and inherited family recipes that I plan on self-publishing for my family and friends. So every time I post a recipe here on Domestic Geek Girl, I’m also building up my little book! (So it should be done in, like, forever from now…)
The History of Planters Punch
Planter’s Punch is an IBA Official Cocktail – one of the many cocktails selected by the International Bartenders Association for use in the annual World Cocktail Competition in bartending. Simply put, that means that Planter’s Punch is one of the most notable and frequently made cocktails by professional bartenders around the world.
The recipe for Planter’s Punch originates from Jamaica, but was made famous (and got it’s name) from the Planters Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina in the mid-1800’s.
The earliest written record of the Planter’s Punch cocktail comes from the September 1878 issue of the London magazine Fun, with the article title: “Planter’s Punch! A West Indian Recipe”.
A wine-glass with lemon juice fill,
Of sugar the same glass fill twice
Then rub them together until
The mixture looks smooth, soft, and nice.
Of rum then three wine glasses add,
And four of cold water please take. A
Drink then you’ll have that’s not bad—
At least, so they say in Jamaica.
By 1903, the ditty for Planter’s Punch was shortened down to four lines:
One of sour,
One of sweet,
Two of strong,
And one of weak.
This meant one part lime juice, one part sweet fruit (orange, pineapple, etc.), two parts old Jamaica rum, and one part sugar.
The potent concoction of rum, sugar, and citrus was the specialty of the house at the Planters Hotel in the 19th century, and eventually became the iconic drink of the South.
The Planters Hotel was a famous antebellum establishment that opened in 1809, when Alexander Calder converted the old Dock Street Theatre into a hotel, and it became the favorite resort for rice planters when they came into the city for the winter. An article in the Charleston City Paper notes that the hotel was well known for its imbibing clientele and notes a British visitor who stayed there in the 1830s stated that during dinner “very little wine is drank, and rather too much brandy.”
Through Prohibition, recipes for Planter’s Punch were pretty consistent in ingredients, though the ratios and fruit juices in the recipe varied greatly. But with each variation it seems to have remained a Jamaican specialty. After the repeal, when high-quality rum was available once again in the United States, Planter’s Punch became a trendy part of a tropical drink fad that brought into fashion such rum-based concoctions as the daiquiri and the rum Collins.
Planter’s Punch, in all of it’s variations, remains a perfect cooling drink for semi-tropical climates.
Our Version of Planter’s Punch
When Jonathan and I started cooking our way through various New Orleans cookbooks leading up to our wedding in The Big Easy, we discovered “Peter’s Planters Punch”.
Peter’s Planters Punch was created by New Orleans Palace Cafe’s bartender, Peter Bogren, who created this award-winning cocktail for the Tales of the Cocktail National Drink competition in 2010 and placed third overall.
Peter’s Planters Punch was our FIRST experience with the Planters Punch cocktail. And, like most family recipes, the Freeman’s Planters Punch came about from us not having all of the recipes on hand for Peter’s Planters Punch – so we improvised! And the result has turned into one of our all time favorite cocktails!
We like to introduce our friends to our family version of this classic cocktail, and we’re always asked for the recipe (and refills!).. give it a try and see for yourself!
You Will Need:
1.5 ounces of rum
.5 ounces of simple syrup
.25 ounces of triple sec
2 ounces of orange juice
1 ounce of lemonade
Sugar and cayenne for the rim
Maraschino cherries for garnish
Roll a cocktail glass in sugar and cayenne. Fill the glass with ice (I like to sprinkle the bottom of the glass with cayenne too!).
Mix all of the liquid elements in a shaker, and shake thoroughly. Pour into the prepared cocktail glass and garnish with cherries. Enjoy!
Have you tried a Planters Punch? Have a favorite cocktail? Share below!