The History Of The Planter’s Punch.
The truth is, no one alive knows the origins of this cocktail, and every best guess of its origin is just the best guess. The issue I have struggled with (and I’m sure many other drink writers have, too) is hoping to find that one true origin story. There are two common origins to the Planter’s Punch that get tossed around:
- Mid 1800s Jamaica.
- The Old Planter’s Hotel in Charleston, SC.
Had I been asked ten years ago, I would have pushed the hotel idea; then, I pivoted to the Jamaica one. Now I kinda say to hell with it; there seems to be a planter’s punch for every island in the Caribbean, with neither more “authentic” than the other. But the different significant versions are worth exploring. After much reading, I have concluded that every place that had a plantation probably had a version of the planter’s punch.
Trader Vic’s 1972 Planter’s Punch Recipe.
I include this one because it’s pretty on point. Like the others, it has a citrus, syrup (including grenadine), and rum. But something Victor Bergeron brought back that most other versions lack, but classic punches have water. Also, in his 1972 book, he has a special section for this cocktail where he includes six different recipes and says there is no such thing as a proper Planter’s punch. He mentions people coming into the bar trying to educate him on what makes an authentic Planter’s Punch. Each one is different, and Vic lays out that there is a Planter’s Punch for every island in the Caribbean.
- 1/2 oz (15 mLs) Lime Juice
- 1 Barspoon (5 mLs) Dark Simple Syrup
- 1 Barspoon (5 mLs) Grenadine
- 1 oz (30 mLs) Lemon Juice
- 2 oz (60 mLs) Gold Rum
- 2 oz (60 mLs) Soda Water
Why Are There So Many Planter’s Punch Recipes?
I include all these because they are all delicious, and one is not more authentic than the others. The oldest known recipe may be the Fun magazine recipe, but there is no certainty that it is even the original. There are more versions of this cocktail than I have included here, and they are all different and good. So don’t let anyone tell you your recipe is wrong because there is no right way to make the drink.