Pondering Planter’s Punch
While reviewing an upcoming rhum, some embellishment on the bottle suggested its excellence in a classic Planter’s Punch, and provides a recipe:
- 1/3 Rhum
- 1/3 Orange Juice
- 1/3 Pineapple Juice
- dash of Grenadine
This got me to thinking a bit about Planter’s Punch.
The name itself is evocative, recalling the history of the five ingredient punch, as well as the planter… who was the proverbial Planter who would drink this potion on sweltering days spent under the sun. It’s a simple drink we all seem to know of, and maybe have heard a recipe or two. This seems to be a drink without origin, not attributed to any person in particular. In the late 19th century, the drink starts to appear in a few London periodicals, typically in reference to Jamaica or some parts of South America.
The earliest reference I could find comes from an 1878 edition of Fun, a satirical magazine published in London.
The next few references I found in my library have fairly similar concepts, albeit different names. In Modern American Drinks (1895), it is referred to as “Jamaican Rum Punch“, and by the time the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) rolls around, it’s become the Planter’s Cocktail #2. Planter’s Cocktail #1 is a variation skipping the sugar and adding orange juice. Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide (1948) gives 4 variations, changing up the lemon to mostly lime, and with 3 of the recipes calling for grenadine. As we can see, the recipe starts morphing and evolving through the decades.
When looking to consider how drinks are being made nowadays, I like to reference the “Big Book of Dumb Drinks” (aka – The Bartender’s Black Book ), which starts off with something similar to the original recipe, but veers into the realm of today by, after mixing the other ingredients, pouring in Orange Juice and Pineapple Juice. I am starting to see where adding Orange juice started, but have yet to find the origin of the Pineapple Juice.
Well, apparently the label makers for this rhum that so got me to thinking are of the modern school of this classic concoction, albeit keeping the proportions still very simple, a classy maneuver if ever there was one. I took a few sips and found their version, while quite sweet, rather refreshing, and certainly evocative of a more tropical clime than here in Portland, OR.
Do you have a favorite Planter’s Punch recipe? Have you tried a few? Found an early reference that asks for pineapple juice? Let me know in the comments!