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Planter’s Punch Cocktail

Planter’s Punch Cocktail

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Need a boozy pitcher cocktail for your next summer party? Planter's Punch is it. Make the mix in advance and store it in the fridge, then add rum when you're ready to serve!

Photography Credit:Nancy Mitchell

Are you looking for a fun drink, one that’s a little tropical, not too hard to make, and sure to be a crowd-pleasing hit? I have just the thing: Planter’s Punch!

Made with rum, lime juice, sugar, and a secret ingredient or two, you can combine the ingredients ahead of time. It’s the perfect party drink!


First, a little history.

In 1878, the Victorian Magazine Fun published this recipe for a Planter’s Punch. Despite the magazine’s faint praise for the concoction, this is not a bad drink (quite the contrary!), although there have been many variations of it over the years. Most involve dark rum and a plethora of fruit juices—lime, pineapple, orange, sometimes passionfruit.

Every recipe is a little different. (As Wayne Curtis wrote in his book And a Bottle of Rum, “Planter’s Punch is a class of drink rather than a single cocktail.”)


I tried a lot of these variations, and my favorite was one I discovered almost by accident in Ted Haigh’s excellent Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. The recipe— made with Jamaican rum and a pre-made “secret mix”—is by Jasper LeFranc, the former head bartender of the Bay Roc Hotel in Montego Bay.

I originally spotted it in Ted Haigh’s book, but the proportions used here are (mostly) the ones from 3st of the month. With just one kind of fruit juice, this may seem a little less flashy than other recipes, but I love this version, because the Angostura bitters and particularly the nutmeg give it a richness and depth of flavor that you don’t get from just rum and fruit juice.

Make-Ahead “Secret Mix”

Although the “secret mix” might seem a little intimidating, it’s really quite simple to make. You can put it together ahead of time (up to two days in advance) and store it in the fridge. Then, when you’re ready to make drinks, all you need to do is add the rum. You can make drinks individually, or put together a whole pitcher at once.


The starting point for Planter’s Punch is a dark rum, preferably Jamaican. Haigh asks for Coruba, although I’ve also had luck with Appleton Estate.


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Planter’s Punch Cocktail Recipe

If fresh-ground nutmeg is not an option, you can substitute 3/4 teaspoon of the already-ground version. But if time allows, go for the fresh ground. As someone who had never bothered to grate fresh nutmeg before, it was a revelation.

I think 1:1 is a good ratio of secret mix to rum, although if you like a stronger drink, you can adjust it to be as much as 1 part secret mix to 2 parts rum; 1 1/2 parts rum would probably be nice, too.


For the secret mix
Yield: 12 ounces, enough for eight drinks or one pitcher

  • 8 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I like turbinado, or demerara)
  • 1/2 ounce Angostura bitters
  • Heaping 1/2 teaspoon of fresh-ground nutmeg (see Recipe Note)

For the Planter's Punch
Yield: 1 cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounce dark Jamaican rum
  • 1 1/2 ounce "secret mix"
  • Crushed ice
  • Mint or cocktail cherry, for garnish


1 Make the secret mix: Stir the secret mix ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Allow to steep in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

2 Make the punch: Add rum, ice, and secret mix to a shaker. Shake for about 20 seconds, and then pour everything into an old fashioned glass, or a comparable 6- to 8-ounce glass.

3 Garnish: Garnish with mint, or a cocktail cherry, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

To make a whole pitcher: Make the secret mix, then add all of it and an equal volume of rum (about a cup and a half, or 12 ounces) to a pitcher. Add 10-12 ice cubes and stir vigorously. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to drink, then serve over crushed ice.

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Planter's Punch Cocktail

Planter's punch is a classic rum drink that first appeared in print in a 1908 edition of the New York Times. Like many other drinks, its origin is disputed: One claim refers to the Planter's House Hotel in St. Louis, and another tells of its invention in Jamaica. But no matter where it was created, it is known as a cheerful cocktail that is designed to be garnished with a variety of fruits, as many as your glass will hold. Top with berries, cherries, citrus, or tropical fruit—whatever may be in season.

The planter's punch takes the name "punch" in the traditional sense. Rather than the party-sized serving associated with the word today, the definition of a classic punch is that of a fruity mix spiked with liquor and garnished with lots of fruit. This means that every single ingredient in this punch, including the rum, grenadine, and pineapple juice, can be replaced with whatever you like, so feel free to give it your personal spin. Though it is optional, adding a splash of club soda creates a livelier drink.

Planter’s Punch

Planter’s Punch is a simple mixture of rum, citrus, sugar and spice. This classic drink has been quenching thirsts since the late-1800s, but its origins are murky. Though hotels in Charleston and St. Louis are associated with the cocktail, it’s more likely that it originated in Jamaica.

Several accounts credit the Planter’s Punch to Myers’s Rum. The Jamaican rum brand sold a Planter’s Punch Rum to be used specifically in the cocktail, and this product helped to popularize the recipe among drinkers. The cocktail was fashionable in the United States through the 1960s, until the Tiki craze began to subside. The cocktail lost its luster over the years, but it was revived during the Tiki renaissance of the 2000s and resurfaced in cocktail books, like Ted Haigh’s influential 2009 tome, “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.”

Recipes vary for the Planter’s Punch. An old sing-song template calls for “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak,” with the latter coming from water or ice, but modern recipes adjust these ratios or change the formula entirely. There isn’t one right way to make it, so feel free to give the drink your personal spin.

This recipe sticks with three parts strong (the rum), while employing nearly equal measures of sugar and citrus for the sweet and sour components. It also receives a dose of spice and complexity from the Angostura bitters, with a dash of soda water for dilution and effervescence. Combine the ingredients with plenty of ice for a tall, refreshing cocktail that channels Jamaica’s warm climate and sandy beaches.

Planter’s Punch

  • 1 1/2 ounces dark rum
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup, (1:1, sugar:water)

Garnish: pineapple wedge, citrus wheels and/or mint sprig

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain over ice into a rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with a pineapple wedge, citrus wheels and/or mint sprig.
Editor's Note

This cocktail can easily be batched as a punch. Just multiply the measurements by the number of servings desired.

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Ingredients in Our Version

We have mostly stuck to the proper planters punch ingredients for our cocktail, but instead of grenadine, we used the hibiscus syrup that we posted on the blog a little while ago. We think that it kicks grenadine’s ass, frankly. And if the original creators had tried it with hibiscus, they would have thought so too. It also fits with the Caribbean theme of the cocktail.

We finished off our rum punch with a splash of sparkling wine. Why? Because we feel like punch should be sparkly. And because it tastes so damn good.

With our version, you will want to either add sparkling wine or at least some club soda. Other wise it will be too sweet.

How to Make a Rum Punch Cocktail

  1. Prepare your garnishes beforehand by skewering citrus slices and cherries for a cute, tropical garnish and also to let guests know what flavors they will taste in their drink.

  1. For each individual serving glass, pour in one tablespoon of grenadine syrup (or simply the syrup from the maraschino cherry jar).

  1. When ready to enjoy, pour the rum punch into each glass to allow for a sunset effect. The drink will be red and the bottom and gradually fade to orange at the top.

Planter's Punch

Stir well with cracked ice, then strain into a Collins glass full of cracked ice stick a straw in it and garnish with whatever the hell you want. We recommend using Jamaican rum.

The Wondrich Take:

Stripping off the white linen suit and Panama hat, laying aside the panatella and the silver-headed malacca cane, the Planter's Punch is just another rum-sugar-citrus drink (see the daiquiri, the mojito, and the caipirinha). In 1930, the English traveler Alec Waugh described the "ritual of mixing a Creole punch" thus: "quarter of a finger's height of sugar, two fingers high of rum, the paring of a lime, the rattling of ice." That's about it for the basic version. Not fascinating, but as long as you use a decent dark rum -- from Jamaica, Barbados, or Martinique -- distinctly palatable. But that's not the whole story. There are variations: with orange juice, with grenadine, with curaçao, with Angostura bitters, with just about anything vaguely Caribbean -- even cayenne pepper. Garnishes range from none to sensible to amusing to ridiculous. In fact, the plain old Planter's Punch has become an umbrella drink.

There's no shame in that. Not much, anyway. Man cannot live by the stemmed glass alone: Sometimes there must be a tiki mug. So put on your Hawaiian Punch hat, turn Martin Denny up on the hi-fi, and give out with the "How low can you go?" Here's Trader Vic's recipe from 1947 it's a killer. And dig the crazy color.

Pirate Punch Recipe

1 oz. Malibu Rum
1/2 oz. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1/2 oz. Grand Mariner
2 oz. Orange Juice
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1 oz. Grenadine

Directions: Combine all ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake well. Pour into tulip glass. Serve with orange slice and cherry. Raise glass and toast.

Pin It To Pinterest!

For additional fun increase the serving size and make a gallon!

If you are looking for more fun in Key West, which may or may not include a Pirate Punch at Captain Tony’s. Here is a top 100 things to do in Key West book that I thought you might enjoy!

Tell us were the best Pirate Punch you had was at, hit us up on Instagram @CaribbeanCastaway and send us a direct message. We would love to know and might even add it to this post!

Want more Caribbean Rum Drinks?

Want more Caribbean rum drink recipes? Click here to see our list of 52 rum drinks and how to make them . Invite some friends over and impress them with your rum skills, because each one tastes like paradise in a glass.

Every good mixologist needs some good cocktail making gear. I recommend this cocktail mixing set , it has everything you need and it’s what I use at home.

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Recipe: 'Meriton Latroon's Bantam Punch'

Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing BowlBy David WondrichHardcover, 320 pagesPerigree TradeList Price: $23.95


For we had not only the country drink called toddee, which is made of the juice of several trees, and punch, which is made of rack-lime, or lime-water, sugar, spices, and sometimes the addition of amber-grease, but we likewise drank great quantities of Persian wine, which is much like claret, and brought from that country in bottles.

SOURCE : Richard Head/Francis Kirkman, The English Rogue, Continued, in the Life of Meriton Latroon and Other Extravagants. Comprehending the Most Eminent Cheats of Most Trades and Professions. The Second Part, 1668


In a mortar or small bowl, muddle a piece of ambergris the size of a grain of barley with an ounce of Indonesian gula jawa or other dark, funky sugar until it has been incorporated. Add 2 ounces Batavia arrack and muddle again until sugar has dissolved. Break up 5 ounces of gula jawa, put it in a two-quart jug with 6 ounces lime juice and muddle together until sugar has dissolved. Add the ambergris-sugar-arrack mixture and stir. Add the remains of the 750-milliliter bottle of Batavia arrack from which you have removed the 2 ounces to mix with the ambergris, stir again, and fi nish with 3 to 4 cups water, according to taste. Grate nutmeg over the top.

Ambergris is clotted whale cholesterol, secreted in large lumps that float around until they wash ashore. That doesn't sound very appetizing, but by the time it washes up, ambergris has aged into a lightly, sweetly and very persistently fragrant substance that most resembles soap. What with the present state of the whale, it is also hideously expensive, but then again, it was never cheap . Since it is essentially a fat, it must be rendered mixable before it can be used, which the above process will do. If the trouble, expense (it goes for about twenty dollars a gram) or squick factor is too much for you, it may easily be omitted, although it does add a subtle, insinuating I-know-not-what to the Punch that cannot otherwise be replicated. For muddling the ambergris, regular demerara sugar is better at absorbing the fragrance, if less authentic. If you can't get gula jawa, which is a sticky, funky mix of palm and sugarcane sugars, then muscovado, piloncillo, panela or jaggery will do. But it's worth tracking the real stuff down, as it gives the Punch its porterlike color and a good deal of its umami-driven brothiness. If you don't have a pitcher, a bowl will of course work just fine. I don't recommend ice here, although an hour in the refrigerator will do no harm. If you wish to incorporate tea, as Head's brief note seems to suggest, add 3 cups of hot green tea, made with 3 teaspoons of loose tea or three tea bags, to the sugar-lime juice-ambergris extract mixture, stir and then add the arrack. Add, if necessary, another cup of cool water at the end.

YIELD: 8 cups.

From Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl by David Wondrich. Copyright 2010 David Wonderich. Excerpted by permission of Perigree Trade.

10 Punch Recipes to Elevate Your Next Summer Soirée

Please any thirsty crowd with these refreshing batch cocktails.

Warm weather is finally here, which calls for some seriously delicious summer cocktails . Here are 10 thirst-quenching punch recipes sure to please any group.

11 liters white wine
2.5 liters whiskey
5 cups mezcal
2 Liters Velvet Falernum
5 liters pineapple juice (canned)
2.5 cups lemon juice
2 cups simple syrup
6 whole pineapples

Cut 6 pineapples in to thin rings. Sear the rings on the plancha until mostly charred. Do not use oil or sugar when searing. Combine all liquid ingredients. Place charred rings of pineapple in the sangria batch, and infuse overnight (or a minimum of 12 hours).Strain off sangria and set aside the soaked pineapple rings for serving.

Courtesy of Boqueria in New York City

7.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
6 oz soda water
5 oz simple syrup
5 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
10 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
12.5 Butterfly Pea Flower-infused vodka (see below)
6 oz rosé cider or dry sparkling rosé

Combine all ingredients except sparkling rosé in a punch bowl. Serve with soda water over ice. Top each glass with rosé cider or dry sparkling rosé, and garnish with a lavender sprig.

For Butterly Pea Flower-infused Vodka:
2-4 grams of Butterfly Pea Flowers
1 bottle vodka

Add flowers to vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24-72 hours ahead of time. The longer the infusion, the more color is extracted from flowers.)

Courtesy of Gallow Green at The McKittrick Hotel in New York City

I&rsquom not sure if many of you know this, but I spent a good part of my life earning my living by bartending. From the ages of 18 to about 28, when I worked &ndash that&rsquos what I was doing. I&rsquom not a big drinker, personally, but I LOVE making a really really great drink.

Christmas season is a great time to get a little creative in the kitchen, and that doesn&rsquot always have to be limited to the baking and cooking you&rsquore planning.

This rumberry punch is super easy to make, you can scale it up to make a large batch for a party, or keep it small and simple for a little &ldquowhile I&rsquom making dinner&rdquo drink.

A really really good cocktail starts with good liquor, so start off with the best quality white rum you can get. There&rsquos no use putting the work into making a great drink if you are going to use cheap booze. It is well worth the extra $5 &ndash $10 a bottle to upgrade a few notches and get the good stuff. Or at least the better stuff.

Next, make your simple syrup. If you are ever at a bar and order a drink and start seeing them dump sugar packets into your glass, just cancel your order.

Sugar has a really hard time dissolving in cold liquids, and ends up settling on the bottom. That&rsquos why real bartenders use simple syrup to sweeten their cocktails.

It isn&rsquot necessary with a lot of drinks because soda is pretty sweet on its own, but for some recipes there is no substitution for a well made simple syrup.

More great cocktail recipes are just a click away!

For this recipe we&rsquore doing a quick and easy fresh cranberry simple syrup. It is a cup of sugar, a cup of water, and a cup of cranberries. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the syrup is red and well&hellipsyrupy. I like to squish the berries with a potato masher to really release all of that awesome cranberry flavor. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, and set aside to cool. Be careful. Simmering syrup is HOT!

Now comes the easy part. Some rum. Some cranberry simple syrup. A little lemon juice. Some cranberry Canada Dry Ginger Ale, and some 7UP, garnish, stir, and serve.

This is a sweet, refreshing, and festive drink that anyone (over the legal drinking age!) can enjoy. Adjust the strength to your personal tastes, and if you make a large batch start with equal parts cranberry ginger ale, and 7UP, add in about 1/4-1/3 cup of the simple syrup, and the booze to taste. 🙂

Watch the video: How to Make Planters Punch (May 2022).