Ti Punch – The Beach in a Glass

Posted by: on Jun 8, 2011 | No Comments

The Tiki Cocktail revival has been well under way for a few years now, and rum is pretty clearly marked as the up and coming spirit trend.  My only problems is I just don’t like my drinks very sweet, and some of these can get really sweet.  The spirit itself is already made from sugar for crying out loud.  Finally though I found a perfectly simple rum concoction with a enough bite to keep me wanting more – the Ti Punch.

There’s always been the Dark n’ Stormy, but I’d rather just have a cold ginger beer.  And then the Mojito, which tasted more like soda than rum.  The Ti Punch (sometimes spelled Ti’ Punch)  on the other hand doesn’t have anything to overshadow the rum.  Ti Punch is short for Petite Punch, and is the traditional apertif in Martinique and other former French colonies in the West Indies.  The ingredients couldn’t get any simpler.  Just white rum, traditionally rhum agricole, a sliver of lime, and a splash of cane syrup.  Stick the sliver of lime and about half a teaspoon of syrup in the bottom of a rocks glass, add an ounce and a half or two ounces of rum, stir, and add a cube or two of ice.  It’s seriously like drinking a day on a Caribbean beach – Ian Fleming not included.  Easy, right?

Well then, just like with anything good, you can get obsessive about your Ti Punch.  Cane syrup can be hard to find, but I find that a rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) made with Demerara sugar is a perfect substitute.  Some people swear that you need the lime to be cut right off the side, with more peel than flesh, and others won’t drink it if it’s not a wedge.  And we’re not even to the rum yet.

Rhum agricole is native rum of the French West Indies, and is made with sugar cane juice instead of molasses.  It’s predictably more brandy-like than other rums and is often over-proof, making your Ti Punch extra punchy.  Rhum JM is a great option from Martinique, or if you need something more easily available, 10 Cane from Trinidad is no slouch.  Neither is the extremely affordable and available Cruzan Light Rum, although it’s certainly not inspiring either.  Perfect if you’re serving large numbers.  I’m yet to try making one with a funky, super esthery Jamaican white rum, like Wray & Nephew or Appleton, but I can’t imagine anything but pure bliss.

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