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.
Planter’s Hotel 1984 Planter’s Punch Recipe.
The original Planter’s Hotel opened in 1809 and was mostly destroyed during the civil war. It did reopen but not as the elite southern hotel it once was. It eventually closed around the turn of the 20th century. The present-day Planter’s Hotel opened in 1984. Not to say the original hotel didn’t have a version of the planter’s punch, but there is no way they invented what we currently consider a planter’s punch. The issue here is that grenadine (A common ingredient in most planter’s punch recipes) didn’t begin to be used in cocktails until the turn of the 20th century. The earliest printed recipe with grenadine was in George Kappeler’s “Modern American Drinks,” published in 1895. Also, there is no known evidence of the original hotel having a house punch recipe. So this recipe is the present-day Planter’s Inn recipe from the 80s, But not to knock them too much, they have one of my favorite versions of this drink.
- 1 oz (30 mLs) Orange Juice
- 1 oz (30 mLs) Pineapple Juice
- 1 Barspoon (5 mLs) Grenadine
- 1 1/2 oz (45 mLs) Black Rum
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.