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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

Planter's Punch (Improved)

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

A mix of two renowned recipes makes the simplest of punches!

Planter's Punch (Improved)

I discovered milk wash punches last week and have been consumed with making them ever since. Unfortunately, I've not perfected it yet so I must go through a few more iterations before I regale you with my latest discoveries. However, in looking for drinks to milk wash I came upon this little gem of a Planter's Punch in Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean.

While I covered Planter's Punch in an earlier post this one sticks out for two reasons. First, it does not follow the standard rhyme of "one of sour, tow of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak". Back in the 1920's Fred Myer (of Myers Jamaican Rum) had a hotel (and bar, naturally) on the Kingston Wharf called the Planter's Punch Inn. As one might expect, the Planter's Punch was it's signature drink. However, Fred mixed his "one of sweet, two of sour, three of weak, and four of strong". It's not a bad way to go.

When you talk about great rum companies Myer's comes to mind but you have to mention Lemon-Hart if you're talking about classic Tiki drinks. In 1957, their managing director, a Col. A.R. Woolley told the Ney York Times that the best way to make Planter's Punch was to substitute tea for the water in the mix. What we have here is a combination of those two ideas. For the proportions we go with Myer's recipe but we replace the water with black or orange pekoe tea.

traditional swizzle stick
traditional swizzle stick

This is served as a swizzle which is basically a fancy way to stir the ingredients in the glass. Traditionally this is done with a swizzle stick that was a branch of the swizzle stick tree (Quararibea turbinata) which grows native on several Caribbean islands. The stick is held between the palms of both hands and is twisted back and forth as the hands are rubbed together. If I'm making a lot of them I'll use a spindle mixer as it's basically an electric swizzler. In a pinch a bar spoon will do - it just takes a bit longer.

Planter's Punch (Improved)

Planter's Punch (Improved)

Source - Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry

  • 1 ounce lime juice

  • 1/2 ounce white sugar

  • 1 1/2 ounce black or orange pekoe tea

  • 2 ounces dark Jamaican rum

Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice at the bottom of a tall glass. Add the tea and rum. fil with crushed ice and swizzle. Garnish with mint sprig.

*Bamboo Sam's customizations: As a native of south Georgia (the state not the country) I am quite familiar with sweet tea. 1/2 ounce of sugar to 1 1/2 ounces of tea seems about right. We tend to go for a drink that is just a little too thin to be a syrup. If you take your tea SWGA style, you're in luck - just add the lime juice and rum and you're already there. As for the rum I tend to use Myers in this since 1/2 of the drink's recipe came from their hotel.

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