After several decades, punches are finally making their way back into cocktail fashion. Two hundred years ago, Americans would spend an evening sitting around a punch bowl, slowly drinking it down in convivial company. The Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect excuse to mix up a big bowl of punch, so before we all go running off for the holiday we wanted to share a Tiki spin on a classic rum punch. Enter the Tiki Bowl! Popular during Tiki’s golden age and a feature of the Tiki Revival, Tiki Bowls straddle the line between cocktail and punch, combining the simplicity of batching up a cocktail with the social aspect of a punch bowl. So this week, we’re drinking a big bowl of Planter’s Punch! –Andrew
8 oz Jamaican Rum
8 oz Demerara Rum
8 oz Lime Juice
4 oz Grenadine
4 oz Honey-Pineapple Syrup
2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
16 dashes Angostura Bitters
To make the honey-pineapple syrup: combine equal parts honey and pineapple juice in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir frequently until the honey is melted into the pineapple just. Bottle and refrigerate.
To make the cinnamon syrup: break up two cinnamon sticks into bits with a muddler in a sauce pan, then add a cup of sugar and a cup of water. Melt the sugar into the water over low heat, stirring frequently until all the sugar is dissolved. Cover and remove from the heat; let the pan sit for at least twenty minutes. Strain through a sieve, bottle, and refrigerate.
Combine everything in a punch or Tiki bowl with 8 ounces of cold water and give it a stir. Add ice and garnish with mint and, if it suits your fancy, a flaming lime shell. Ladle into cups to serve or, better, drop in some straws and enjoy together. Makes about 8 servings.
Planter’s Punch has its roots in Jamaica, from which it spread throughout the Caribbean and to America through Charleston. There’s no authoritative recipe, and variations run the gamut – rum and lime and sugar in all of them; grenadine in many but not all; orange juice in a few; you get the idea. It’s more of an idea of tropical refreshment, a reference point for tweaking and experimenting. We went with grenadine, which adds a dark tartness; pineapple for tropical fruitiness; and honey for rich, earthy sweetness. Between the grenadine and pineapple and lime, this turns out pretty tart, so we added just a touch of cinnamon syrup to balance it out. This Planter’s Punch is rich and tropical and just a bit spicy.
Ice is key to a cold punch; you want to make the biggest block of ice you can fit into your freezer (and your punch bowl) to cool your punch without melting and diluting your punch too quickly. Cake pans are handy for this; we used a Bundt pan to make our big block of ice. We filled ours with lemon and lime slices, but you can freeze all sorts of garnishes into your ice, which both look great and add flavor as the ice melts – fruit, herbs, whatever suits your fancy. Lay your garnishes in the bottom of the cake pan, then fill the cake pan with crushed ice and, finally, top with water before you put it in the freezer. The crushed ice will keep your garnishes in place as the ice block freezes up.
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Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper