Following up on the Summer of Rum, the classic way of mixing the crisp, vegetal flavor of rhum agricole from Martinique--which, to refresh your memory, is made from fresh sugarcane juice instead of the molasses almost all other rums are distilled from—is in a simple drink called the Ti Punch.
"Ti" is short for "petite," and the Ti Punch delivers on that account; unlike the overly sweet, Asti Spumante and orange sherbet concoctions your grandmother put together as a party drink decades ago, Ti Punch has only a few ingredients and is extraordinarily simple to prepare, assuming you have those ingredients. And that can be a big assumption; rhum agricole has a limited distribution, and the drink is typically sweetened with cane syrup in lieu of refined sugar. Petit Canne syrup is available on pretty much the same scale as rhum agricole, and the Martinique distiller Depaz also produces a cane syrup.
The Ti Punch looks much like a daiquiri or a caipirinha, but the distinctive flavor of rhum agricole makes this a particularly musky and rugged drink. Using a white agricole is traditional, though the aged agricole, or rhum vieux, are a bit more user-friendly for the agricole novice. I won't tell if you won't.
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.
Time for a Drink: Ti Punch
About This Recipe
- 2 ounces white rhum agricole
- 2 to 4 teaspoons cane syrup, to taste
- 1 slice of lime, cut from the side of the fruit
In a rocks or old-fashioned glass, pour the cane syrup and squeeze the lime slice, which has been cut from the side of the fruit so that the aromatic oils from the peel will flavor the drink. Add the rum and stir until syrup is dissolved; add a few large cubes of ice and briefly stir to chill.