Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ti Punch

     When properly handled. Down in Martinique and Guadeloupe, rhum agricole country, the preferred way of absorbing the daily ration is in a Ti' Punch -- ti' being how you say petit in the Creole they speak down there. Any drink that has "little" in its name, watch out -- it's like the guy they call Tiny, the one standing over by the keg whom you mistook for a piece of earthmoving equipment.   Like the Cuban daiquiri or the Brazilian caipirinha, this do-it-yourself classic (a lot of joints just put the ingredients out and let you have at 'em) uses lime and a cane-based sweetener to take the edge off the hooch.   The difference is in the form of the sweetener: For a true Ti' Punch, you need cane syrup, the raw juice of the cane boiled down until thick.   This is richer and mellower (and less sweet) than the refined white sugar usually used in drinks, it's the perfect foil for the rhum. Also -- you're supposed to knock it back in one shot.

     Benjamin Melin-Jones, a fourth generation member of the Clément family as well as the Managing Director of Rhum Clément in the US. “It was almost a ritual when she came home from work and took a 20 minute rest before she prepared the evening’s meal. However I will never forget when I made a ‘Ti Punch in Martinique for my uncle and he almost spit it out on my shoes. My recipe had not varied from the one I always made. He asked for my method of preparation and I responded with fresh cut lime, rhum blanc, syrup and crushed ice. He exclaimed: ‘Ice! Were you raised in Guadeloupe?’ This is the perfect example of how the debate over how to create a ‘Ti Punch ignites passionate response even amongst family.”

     No matter the history, the cocktail is a wonderful basic cocktail that really tastes wonderful.

Ti Punch

  • 2 oz. Rhum Agricole
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • 1 oz. Cane Syrup

Place all ingredients in a shaker and shake until chilled and strain into a rocks glass.  Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.  If sipping, add a couple of ice cubes and enjoy.