The Story Behind The Ti’ Punch
Ti’ Punch is a simple, easy-to-make drink that showcases the grassy, nuanced flavors of rhum agricole, which is made from fermented sugar cane juice rather than molasses.
First officially recorded in Lafcadio Hearn’s 1890 book “Two Years in The French West Indies,” Ti’ Punch was born on the island of Martinique. The name is Creole, derived from French for “petit” or “small” punch. And it is indeed petite, comprised of just three components. Similar to how a tequila shot is often served alongside salt and a lime wedge, this drink sees rhum agricole served neat with a dash of cane syrup and some lime added.
Traditionally, it’s prepared in a slightly ritualistic, tea-ceremony-like manner: A bottle of rhum agricole is placed on a table along with small bowls of sugar and limes, allowing everyone in attendance to “prépare sa propre mort” (prepare their own death) and build their Ti’ Punch with a spec skewed to their liking. It’s a pretty loose framework when it comes to proportions, but the rhum agricole is a must — no rhum agricole, no Ti’ Punch.
When prepping the lime coin, it should be more rind than flesh so as to get more oils than juice into the mix. Generally, one lime will yield three to four coins. When selecting cane syrup, it’s best to opt for a thicker syrup. If you can find the Petite Canne brand, that’s the one to go for.