The island of Martinique is still in hurricane recovery mode from Hurricane Maria which ravaged the island back in September. Rhum Agricole is produced solely in Martinique. In honor of this beautiful island, I committed to making ‘Ti Punch as much as possible.
‘Ti Punch is Martinique’s national drink and a huge part of their daily social life. It is served in cafes and bars all over the island. Everyone has their own method of enjoying it. The ingredients are served separately table side and the drinker is left to create the drink themselves. Some like more lime, less sugar. Others enjoy a touch more sugar and a heavier pour on the rum. Don’t we all love a heavier pour on the rum?
It is a beautifully simple cocktail using just a few ingredients. You could compare it in preparation to an Old Fashioned and in a glass, it closely resembles a daiquiri. However, tastewise it is neither.
A ‘Ti Punch cocktail’s strength is the floral, funky, earthiness of its sugar cane taste. Rhum Agricole is made from fresh sugar cane juice while other types of rum are made mostly from molasses. Along with the second ingredient in this cocktail, Sirrop de Cane – which translates to sugar cane juice, the mighty cane is definitely the star of this drink.
I don’t always have an easy time finding Sirrop de Cane locally so I substitute other types of sugar products. I’ve used raw sugar, raw liquid sugar, Hawaiian sugar and for the recipe I’m sharing today, I used a vanilla simple syrup.
While not a traditional ‘Ti Punch, ‘Ti Punch avec vanille, is still simple and delightful. I love the vanilla flavor that melds with the grassy almost sweet notes of the Rhum Agricole. Don’t be afraid, it’s not too much sweetness, the lime juice adds tartness and the squeezed lime wedges add a touch of sour to the glass.
‘Ti Punch is also traditionally stirred using a swizzle stick or Le Bois LéLé. Fear not if you don’t have one, you can just stir it with a lowly bar spoon or even a teaspoon.
A ‘Ti Punch must be made with Rhum Agricole, no other type of rum is acceptable.
Rhum Agricoles are widely available at most liquor stores in varying price levels. Sample as many as you can, each has a unique often funky flavor. It took me a while to find my favorite and of course it was one of the more expensive choices. But I think it’s totally worth it.
Ti’ Punch avec Vanille
2 wedges of lime
3/4 oz. vanilla simple syrup
2 oz. Rhum Agricole
Add ice to a rocks glass. Squeeze the two lime wedges into the glass and drop the used wedges into the glass. Add the simple syrup and rum. Stir briefly with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a vanilla bean. Enjoy and remember to be exotic everyday!